William D. Coffee, Managing Partner


Mr. William D. Coffee is a trial lawyer with over thirty years of experience in complex business and real estate litigation matters.  Mr. Coffee has substantial lead trial experience in both jury and bench trials in state and federal court. He has tried more than thirty cases before juries, judges and arbitrators, achieving many excellent results for his clients.  Mr. Coffee has also handled more than forty appellate matters before the Courts of Appeal for the State of California and for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, including many matters that resulted in published opinions. Mr. Coffee has conducted multiple MCLE seminars on a variety of matters, including title and escrow disputes and appellate practice.

Mr. Coffee has a wide range of clients that range from Fortune 500 companies to local businesses and individuals.  He has litigated hundreds of cases involving a wide variety of issues including business disputes, title and escrow liability, lender liability, insurance bad faith, easement and encroachment disputes, fraud and forgery claims, lien priority, officer and director liability, trade secret and unfair competition matters, complex construction defect claims and other construction disputes, and CEQA actions. Mr. Coffee regularly represents title insurers and title companies in breach of contract and insurance bad faith lawsuits, as well as their insureds (lenders and owners) in real estate disputes.  His clients includeFirst American Title Insurance Company, First American Specialty Insurance Company, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, Atlas Title Company and North American Title Insurance Company.

Mr. Coffee has a strong background in oil and gas law, having represented oil and gas operators and property owners in a variety of disputes involving oil and gas rights.  He has litigated numerous cases related to surface rights, royalty payments, termination of lease rights, and conduct of oil and gas operations.  Mr. Coffee also has significant experience representing creditors in bankruptcy court adversary proceedings and other bankruptcy- related matters. Mr. Coffee has also represented the Resolution Trust Corporation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in litigation matters involving Imperial Savings Association, Great American Bank and American Savings Bank.

Mr. Coffee obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law. In addition to the California State Bar, Mr. Coffee is admitted to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the United States District Courts for the Central, Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of California. He is also a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, an active supporter of the California Land Title Association, and an active supporter of Think Together, a nonprofit provider of early learning and after-school education services for schools and school districts throughout California.

Representative Matters

Mr. Coffee successfully represented the plaintiff in a complex partnership dispute between the owners of a successful start-up company.  After a three-week jury trial, Mr. Coffee obtained a seven-figure verdict in favor of the plaintiff on claims for breach of contract and fraud.

Mr. Coffee, as appellate counsel, successfully represented individual defendants and a company in an appeal from a jury verdict in excess of $16 million in a trade secret and breach of fiduciary case brought by a manufacturing company against former officers and directors who had left the manufacturer and started a competing company. Mr. Coffee obtained a reversal of the damage award on appeal and negotiated a nominal settlement in favor of the defendants after remand of the case to the trial court.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented an insured lender in a priority action involving two deeds of trust recorded at the same time against the same property. After the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the insured lender, the Court of Appeal affirmed and concluded that under Government Code section 1170, both deeds of trust were deemed to have been recorded simultaneously and had equal priority. First Bank v. East West Bank, et. al.,199 Cal.App.4th 1309 (2011)

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a developer in a quiet title action against an adjoining landowner to confirm an access easement created as the result of a partition judgment. After a one-week court trial, the trial court awarded judgment in favor of the developer. The judgment was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a title insurer in a subrogation action to recover damages arising from a fraudulent real estate transaction against a real estate broker for negligence and gold dealer for conversion. After a federal court jury trial, the Firm obtained a seven-figure verdict in favor of title insurance company.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a developer in a lawsuit brought by a homeowner alleging several tort claims stemming from substantial flood damage. After a multi-week court trial, the Firm obtained judgment in favor of the developer on all causes of action.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a defendant oil operator in a suit by a property owner seeking to terminate surface rights and to quiet title. After a one-week court trial, the court entered judgment for the defendant. The judgment was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a defendant developer in lawsuit brought by a plaintiff homeowner for rescission based on an alleged failure to disclose airport noise. Mr. Coffee successfully brought a motion for judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 631.8 and judgment was entered in the developer’s favor. The judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

Mr. Coffee obtained favorable federal court and state court decisions for his investor clients in a dispute involving a mixed-use development project.  A former hotel operator filed state and federal actions in an attempt to assert an interest in the property pursuant to an option agreement.  The Firm represented investors seeking to develop the property into an oceanfront mixed-use project.  After the federal court dismissed the Lanham Act claims, the state court action was resolved in favor of the investors after the state court expunged the former hotel operator’s lis pendens, following an evidentiary hearing on a motion to expunge lis pendens.

After a three-week court trial, Mr. Coffee obtained a judgment in favor of the owner of a large retail development shopping project against a tenant alleging tort and contract claims relating to the construction of the project and complex percentage rent provisions in a commercial lease.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a homeowner in a contentious neighbor dispute establishing the boundary between neighboring oceanfront properties after a one-week bench trial involving complex survey issues and testimony.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented the developer of a residential project of over 300 homes in a quiet title action against a municipality to confirm an access easement. After a court trial, the court awarded a judgment that quieted title to the easement in favor of the developer.

Mr. Coffee successfully represented a plaintiff seeking to recover payment of commissions against an out-of-state manufacturer in the commercial aircraft industry. After a one-week jury trial, Mr. Coffee obtained a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff for the full amount of commissions sought by plaintiff.

Educational History

  • J.D., University of Texas School of Law (1989)
  • B.A., (Marketing) University of Texas (1986)

Membership/Community Affiliations

  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association