William L. Coggshall


  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    William L. Coggshall, III is a Partner in the San Diego office of GRSM and is a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort, Professional Liability and Construction practice groups. William epresents individuals and businesses ranging in size from small sole proprietorships to large international corporations. William is an experienced trial lawyer, handling cases involving professional liability claims (insurance agents and brokers, lawyers, accountants, design professionals), construction litigation (defect, contract, delay claims), and high-exposure toxic tort litigation. His clients include retailers, manufacturers, developers, general contractors and large infrastructure engineering companies. Additionally, he represents clients in all types of real estate disputes (including but not limited to: issues/claims related to easements, encroachments, landlord/tenant, landslides, all types of construction matters, failure to disclose, premises liability and water diversion facilities).

    While recognizing trial is a last resort, William has proven himself to be a successful trial lawyer should cases go to that extent. His knowledge and skills have been much appreciated by his clients and respected by opposing counsel. Litigation is an expensive proposition and William's practice includes an active program of risk mitigation by routinely advising his clients regarding litigation/claims avoidance, contract negotiation, contract interpretation and review.

    Structuring Business Solutions for Design Professionals

    William represents some of the world’s largest infrastructure design companies. In addition to defending lawsuits, he is successful and often requested to represent clients asserting affirmative claims such as unpaid contractual fee claims and lost business profit claims.

    Defense for High Exposure Claims

    Another facet of William’s litigation practice involves complex litigation of product liability and toxic torts related to high-exposure asbestos/toxic exposure claims. He works with retailers, manufacturers and their insurers to aggressively defend claims of liability, reduce damages to nominal amounts and clear threats of future litigation.

    Displaying a Marine’s Discipline in Protecting Clients

    William credits his service in the United States Marine Corps for his deeply held belief in the power of preparation and how he builds the foundation of his litigation practice. He takes an aggressive yet real world approach in representing clients.


    • California
    • Wisconsin (inactive)
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin


    • AIA – East Bay
    • Council on Litigation Management
    • Defense Research Institute
    • Contra Costa County Bar Association
    • Association of Defense Counsel
  • Practice Areas
  • Representative Experience

    Recent Results

    • Trial – During a recent jury trial involving alleged design error in a water diversion facility dam, Mr. Coggshall was able to prove that it was not the design of the project, but rather, Plaintiff’s improper operation of the facility that lead to erosion damage. Mr. Coggshall and his team secured a unanimous defense verdict on Plaintiff’s breach of contract and negligence claims.
    • Trial – After a two-week jury trial, involving damage to six rented stainless steel brewing tanks, Mr. Coggshall and his team obtained a unanimous decision in favor of our client on its breach of contract claim, and was awarded damages as well as the recovery of attorney fees.
    • Trial – After a three week hotly contested trial involving a dispute between adjacent commercial property owners Will obtained all relief requested for his defendant client. The matter was then appealed by the Plaintiff. Mr. Coggshall and his team were successful at the appellate level. The matter subsequently settled post-appeal with a high six-figure settlement for Mr. Coggshall’s client and their insurance carrier for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and business lost profit claims.
    • Mr. Coggshall obtained an excellent result in a binding arbitration. Mr. Coggshall defended an architectural firm against a claim made by a homeowner’s association (HOA) against regarding designed repairs. Claimant’s damage claim was in excess of $750,000 at the beginning of the hearing and later reduced to approximately $560,000 at the conclusion of testimony. Following the hearing and post arbitration briefing, the arbitrator made a very small award of $31,000 in favor of the HOA.

    Sampling of Other Representative Matters

    • Product Liability Defense – Mr. Coggshall represented a material supplier regarding product liability claims in a large multi-district litigation over a diet supplement. The asserted defense that set in motion a successful resolution was the argument that the client was protected by the “component parts doctrine.” The case successfully resolved short of trial.
    • Landlord/Tenant – Mr. Coggshall represented apartment owner against multiple lawsuits brought by former and current tenants alleging habitability and discrimination claims. The cases were successfully settled short of trial.
    • Landlord/Tenant – Represented mobile home park and its property manager against claims of discrimination and specific performance. Successfully resolved matter following successful motion with client’s receiving the sole compensation on the case.
    • Tunnel Collapse/Landslide – Mr. Coggshall represented a design professional in claims involving the collapse of a tunnel. The matter successfully resolved short of trial.
    • Landslide – Represented multiple homeowners in mutual claims against neighbors involving large landslide and issues of lateral and subjacent support. Case settled short of trial with sufficient monetary compensation to repair landslide.
    • Premises Liability – Mr. Coggshall represented a construction general contractor in claims made by injured patron at shopping mall. The matter was resolved when a dismissal of Mr. Coggshall’s client was obtained by way of summary judgment.
    • Failure to Disclose – Mr. Coggshall successfully represented a buyer in an odd case of turnabout wherein the seller alleged a claim that the buyer failed to disclose certain knowledge of construction defects. The matter was dismissed after a successful motion for summary judgment.
    • Architect Defense – Represented architect whose work was alleged to have contributed to the cause of pedestrian/vehicle accident and the resulting injuries. Plaintiffs initial demands were in the high six figures. Following a few depositions and faced with a summary judgment motion, plaintiff settled the case against the architect for $2,000.
  • Publications & Presentations


    Staying Out of Hot Water, AIA - East Bay, February 19, 2015

  • Education


    J.D., Marquette University Law School, 1999

    • Intellectual Property Law Review, Associate Editor, 1998-99

    B.A., San Jose State University, 1995