• David Coats

David S. Coats

David Coats is the firm’s co-managing partner and senior litigation partner. He has been recognized by and peer selected for The Best Lawyers in America; Business North Carolina Magazine's Legal Elite; and Charlotte Magazine's North Carolina Super Lawyers - and in a variety of areas including litigation, construction law, and insurance law. Since 1996, Martindale Hubbell has recognized David with its prestigious "AV" peer rating.  In 2015, Best Lawyers In America selected David as Lawyer of the Year and the best lawyer in insurance law in the Raleigh metropolitan market.  In 2020 (and 2019), North Carolina Super Lawyers named David as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina.

David focuses his practice on commercial litigation, construction defect litigation, insurance coverage litigation, insurance bad faith and unfair claim practices, professional malpractice defense, appellate practice, and municipal and law enforcement liability law, as well as personal injury actions. Experienced in federal and state court proceedings, David is the attorney of record in over 35 published opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, Federal District Courts in North Carolina and South Carolina, and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and he has tried a large number of cases to verdict both in state and federal court. David is also a certified mediator and has mediated and arbitrated a variety of cases.

David has lectured at over 25 continuing education seminars for organizations such as the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. His sessions cover a variety of topics including insurance bad faith, construction litigation, construction liens, insurance coverage litigation, jury selection, and trial techniques. He has also been inducted as a fellow in The Litigation Counsel of America - an invitation only trial lawyer honor society – and as a member of The Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He also currently serves as Chair of the Your House Counsel Construction Law Committee.

David’s representative experience includes the following:

  • Serving as lead counsel for a contractor sued in multiple venues for wrongful death and personal injury actions arising out of the ConAgra Slim Jim Plant Explosion
  • Serving as lead counsel for a contractor sued for alleged construction defects in 159 chain restaurants in 11 states
  • Serving as lead counsel in defending the bad faith and insurance coverage claims arising out of the Duke Lacrosse cases
  • Winning a jury verdict and a judgment of no liability after a multi-week construction defect trial for a general contractor that constructed a multi-million dollar residential project
  • Securing dismissals for multiple defendants in a taxpayer derivative action in which plaintiff sought to recover more than $15 million for an alleged fraud and conspiracy surrounding the construction and operation of an entertainment complex
  • Serving as lead defense counsel in multiple assisted living facility memory care unit wrongful death and personal injury claims
  • Serving as lead counsel for the general contractor, developer, or owner in over 125 construction defect and construction contract suits throughout the State
  • Serving as lead counsel for the general contractor or developer in over a dozen suits involving alleged construction defects in large condominium complex or hotel construction defect suits on the North Carolina and South Carolina coast.


  • Wake Forest University, J.D., 1988
  • Guilford College, B.S., 1984

Jurisdictions Licensed

  • All North Carolina State and Federal District Courts
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Reported Cases

  • Nathaniel Webb v. Town of Cary, et al 625 Fed. Appx. 191, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 16315 (4th Cir. 2015) (affirmed summary judgment for civil rights claims against police officers based on qualified immunity)
  • Nationwide Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Brinley's Grading Serv. No. COA 12-276, 737 S.E.2d 192, 2013 N.C. App. LEXIS 149 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013) (applicability of CGL policy “leased employee” exclusion in wrongful death action)
  • Thornton v. Stuckey No. COA11-508, 721 S.E.2d 763, 2012 N.C. App. LEXIS 157 (N.C. Ct. App. 2012) (affirmed judgment based on jury verdict finding gross contributory negligence and proper use of toxicology expert)
  • Ford v. Paddock 196 N.C. App. 133, 674 S.E.2d 689 (2009) (wrongful death action against adoption agency and county department of human services arising out of adopted mother’s murder of four year-old child)
  • Park v. Young Homes, Inc. No. COA07-67, 2007 N.C. App. LEXIS 2107 (Ct. App. Oct. 2, 2007) (affirmed judgment based on jury verdict for general contractor in alleged construction defect action)
  • Magnolia Mfg. of N.C., Inc. v. Erie Ins. Exch. 361 N.C. 213, 639 S.E.2d 443 (2007) (applicability of CGL policy “collapse” coverage exclusion)
  • King Assocs., LLP v. Bechtler Dev. Corp. 179 N.C. App. 88, 632 S.E.2d 243 (2006) (class action suit involving rail corridor property rights)
  • Rainey v. St. Lawrence Homes, Inc. 174 N.C. App. 611, 621 S.E.2d 217 (2005) (alleged surface water run-off and construction defect claims against general contractor and developer)
  • Winters v. Allen No. COA03-639, 2004 N.C. App. LEXIS 889 (N.C. Ct. App. May 18, 2004) (interpretation of insurance contract “additional payments” provision)
  • Swain v. Preston Falls E., L.L.C.. 156 N.C. App. 357, 576 S.E.2d 699 (2003). disc. rev. denied, 583 S.E.2d 290 (2003) (subsequent purchaser contributory negligence for failure to secure EIFS inspection of building prior to purchase)
  • Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Grady 130 N.C. App. 292, 502 S.E.2d 648 (1998) (applicability of homeowners’ insurance policy “business pursuits” exclusion]
  • Hester v. Allstate Ins. Co. 347 N.C. 345, 493 S.E.2d 416 (1997) (applicability of automobile policy “furnished for regular use” exclusion)
  • Daughtry v. Castleberry 123 N.C. App. 671, 474 S.E.2d 137 (1996), aff’d per curiam, 485 S.E.2d 45 (1997) (protection of underinsured motorist insurer’s statutory subrogation rights)
  • Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Integon Indem. Corp. 123 N.C. App. 536, 473 S.E.2d 23 (1996) (applicability of homeowners’ insurance policy “motor vehicle” exclusion)
  • Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Williams 123 N.C. App. 103, 472 S.E.2d 220 (1996) (underinsured motorist insurance coverage “named insured” and class 2 insured coverage issues)
  • Imperial Cas. & Indem. Co. v. Radiator Specialty Co. 862 F. Supp. 1437 (E.D.N.C. 1994); aff’d per curiam, 67 F.3d 534 (4th Cir. 1995) (applicability of CGL policy defense and indemnification obligations for multitude of asbestos personal injury claims under exposure trigger of coverage theory)
  • Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Banks 114 N.C. App. 760, 443 S.E.2d 93 (1994), disc. rev. denied, 448 S.E. 2d 530 (1994) (applicability of homeowners’ insurance policy “intended by insured” exclusion)
  • Harward v. Smith 114 N.C. App. 263, 441 S.E.2d 313 (1994), disc. rev. denied, 447 S.E. 2d 391 (1994) (validity of “lump sum” offers of judgment under Rule 68)
  • Jefferson-Pilot Fire & Cas. Co. v. Sunbelt Beer Distribs. 839 F. Supp. 376 (D.S.C. 1993) (applicability of CGL policy for wrongful termination claims)
  • Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Silverman 332 N.C. 633, 423 S.E.2d 68 (1992) (applicability of underinsured motorist coverage stacking provisions for class 2 insureds)

Professional Affiliations

  • Defense Research Institute
  • North Carolina Bar Association (Appellate Rules Commitee 1996-2000; Chair of Environmental Issues Commitee 1994-1995; Member Litigation and Construction Law Sections)
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
  • Wake County Bar Association (Board of Directors 2002-2004)

Community Involvement

  • Campaign Treasurer 2020 Re-Election Committee North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Mark Davis
  • 2017-inaugural class of the Chief Justice's North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society for outstanding pro bono contributions
  • Campaign Treasurer 2014 Election Committee North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Mark Davis
  • Earth Share of North Carolina (Board of Directors 2004-2016; Chairman of The Board 2012-2014)
  • North Carolina Rails Trails (Board Counsel and Board of Directors 1992-2014)
  • Raleigh Rotary Club (Paul Harris Fellow)
  • Hayes Barton Methodist Church
  • Raleigh 11 Precint Chair
  • Volunteer Lawyers Program
  • Campaign Treasurer 2012 Re-Election Committee North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Cressie Thigpen
  • Campaign Treasurer 2008 Re-Election Committee North Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge John Martin
  • Campaign Treasurer 2006 Election Committee North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker
  • Campaign Treasurer 2004 Election Committee North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Sarah Parker
  • Campaign Treasurer 2000 Re-Election Committee North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge John Martin