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William E. Altman

Partner, Detroit
t: 248.433.8710
f: 248.540.8059


William Altman practices in the areas of labor, employment, and benefits litigation on behalf of private and public sector employers. He has extensive experience representing employers in cases involving anti-discrimination laws, whistle-blower and retaliation actions, ERISA actions, non-competition agreements, trade secrets, fiduciary duty actions, and class actions. William defends employers in state and federal courts and before state and federal agencies.

He has particular expertise in defending and advising employers in employee benefits matters. In addition to advising employers in such matters, William has successfully defended employers in ERISA class actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty, discrimination, and denial of benefits. He serves as national benefit litigation counsel for a Detroit automaker. William has also represented employers in single and multiple beneficiary litigation involving the denial of benefits, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, and declaratory actions to determine beneficiaries.

He also advises employers regarding their obligations under state and federal employment laws, including employment and separation agreements, employment policies, internal investigations, and compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination, wage and hour, and benefits laws.

William is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Bar Association, the ABA's Employee Benefits Committee, and the Federal Bar Association. William has served as an Editor of the Michigan Employment Law Letter since 1997. he also served as a co-author of Employment Law in Michigan, An Employer's Guide, ICLE from 1997 through 2016.

William served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert E. DeMascio of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.


Reported Cases

  • Patterson v. Chrysler Group LLC, 845 F.3d 756 (6th Cir. 2017) (In a case of first impression in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, successfully defended company and pension plan against claim to enforce divorce judgment after the death of a participant)
  • Butler v. FCA US LLC, 6th Cir. Case No. 16-2726 (2017) (Successfully defended company against claims for group accident insurance benefits)
  • Kern v. Chrysler UAW Pension,  __ Fed. Appx. __, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10596 (6th Cir.2013) (Successfully defended pension plan against claim for widow/widower benefits)
  • Hawk v. Chrysler Group LLC, 2013 WL 149597 (E.D. Mich. 2013) (Successfully defended pension against claim for permanent and total disability benefits)
  • Becker v. Chrysler LLC Healthcare Plan, 691 F.3d 879 (7th Cir. 2012), 2011 WL 2601254 (E.D. Wis. 2011) (Successfully defended welfare plan against claim for healthcare benefits)
  • Pearce v. Chrysler LLC Pension Plan, 2012 WL 750097 (E.D. Mich. 2012) (Successfully defended pension plan against claim for pension benefits)
  • Brooks v. Chrysler Group LLC – UAW Pension Plan, 2012 WL 95267 (E.D. Mich. 2012) (Successfully defended pension plan against claim for pension benefits)
  • Dean v. DaimlerChrysler Life, Disability and Health Care Benefits Program, 439 Fed. Appx. 265 (4th Cir. 2011) (Successfully defended benefits plan in claim for long term disability benefits)
  • Beauchamp v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 2011 WL 34897980 (E.D. Mich. 2011) (Successfully defended pension plan against claim for pension benefits)
  • Lilley v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation-UAW Pension Plan, 2010 WL 380833 (S.D. Ill. 2010) (Successfully defended pension plan against claim for pension benefits)
  • Garrett v. Hewitt Associates, 2010 WL 2342496 (N.D. Ohio 2010) (Successfully defended pension plan against claim for survivor spouse pension benefits)
  • Meyer v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 2009 WL 702817 (E.D. Mo. 2009) (Successfully defended employer against claim for disability benefits)
  • Mitchell v. Oakwood Healthcare, 2009 WL 2602439 (E.D. Mich. 2009) (Successfully defended employer against claim for disability benefits)
  • Crawford v. TRW Automotive U.S. LLC, 560 F.3d 607 (6th Cir. 2009) (E.D. Mich. 2007) (Successfully defended employer in class action pension discrimination case under arising out of a plant closure)
  • Hendricks v. Home Depot, Inc., 2006 WL 3422695 (S.D. Ohio 2006) (Successfully defended employer in putative class action involving ERISA claims arising out of workers compensation leaves)
  • In re U.S. Truck Company Holdings, Inc., 341 B.R. 596 (E.D. Mich. 2006) (Successfully represented multi-employer pension plan and trust in case involving “trucking industry” exception to withdrawal liability)
  • Meier v. Green, No. 07-11410, 2007 WL 2909418, 2007 WL 1868999 (E.D. Mich. 2007); Meier v. Detroit Diesel Corporation, 2006 WL 2089208 (Mich. Ct. App. 2006)  (Successfully defended employer in multiple-count, multiple action litigation by former employee alleging numerous discrimination and other claims.)
  • Detroit Newspaper Agency v. N.L.R.B., 435 F.3d 302 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (Obtained Court of Appeals holding that NRLB’s order was not supported by substantial evidence where it determined that employee was discharged due to union activity; the NLRB subsequently dismissed the case)
  • Henry v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 148 Fed.Appx. 410 (6th Cir. 2005) (Obtained summary judgment for employer in race discrimination claim brought by long term employee)
  • Detroit Newspaper Agency v. Schaub, 108 F. Supp. 2d 729 (E.D. Mich. 2000) (Obtained injunctive relief restraining the NLRB from prosecuting unfair labor practice charges against the employer)
  • Hogan v. Petitpren, Inc. Employee Profit Sharing and Pension Plan, 92 F. Supp. 2d 612 (E.D. Mich. 2000)  (Successfully defended employer in case alleging violations of ERISA procedure and failure to provide benefits)
  • NLRB v. Detroit Newspaper Agency, 185 F.3d 602 (6th Cir. 1999) (Obtained first impression ruling that privilege reviews regarding agency subpoenas are the province of the courts, rather than the agencies)

Honors & Leadership

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (2021)
  • Selected by his peers from across the United States as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (2016)
  • Michigan Super Lawyers (since 2011)
  • Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, dbusiness Top Lawyers as published in dbusiness magazine
  • Leading Lawyers for Employment Law: Management (since 2014)
  • Charles H. King Award (Detroit College of Law)
  • American Jurisprudence Award for Civil Procedure
  • American Jurisprudence Award for Evidence
  • American Jurisprudence Award for Legal Profession

Professional Activities

  • American Employment Law Council
  • Employers Counsel Network
  • State Bar of Michigan (Member, Labor & Employment Law Section)
  • American Bar Association (Member, Labor & Employment Law Section)
  • Federal Bar Association (Member)
  • Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (Inducted 2016)




  • Co-editor, Michigan Employment Law Letter  (1997-2019)
  • Co-author, "Demystifying ERISA Claim Litigation," Michigan Bar Journal, Jan. 2013
  • Co-author, Employment Law in Michigan: An Employer’s Guide (ICLE 1997-2016)
  • Co-author, Employment Discrimination Law, 3d Edition (BNA 2002)
  • Co-author, “Mandatory Arbitration of Statutory Claims Under Collectively Bargained Agreements,” (ABA-BNA EEO, 2001)


Bar Admissions

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