Managing Partner

Timothy T. Coates


GMSR Managing Partner Timothy Coates is one of the country’s leading appellate attorneys representing public entities and their employees. Over the past thirty years, Tim has briefed and argued over 250 appeals in the state and federal appellate courts, including five cases in the United States Supreme Court. Tim has been recognized as the “go-to” lawyer for governmental entities in civil appeals and related law and motion proceedings in major cases in the areas of civil rights, environmental regulation, employment, and general tort liability.

Tim has also represented managed care organizations and other healthcare providers in medical malpractice actions, breach of contract and bad faith claims, and regulatory matters under the Medicare and Medicaid Acts.

In media, Tim is regularly acknowledged for his success and impact on the law. Reuters named Tim one of the “Top Petitioners” in the United States Supreme Court based on his success in having review granted in that Court, and the Los Angeles Daily Journal recognized Tim as one of the top 100 attorneys in California in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 based on his success in the Supreme Court.  In addition, Tim has received the prestigious California Lawyer of the Year award for his United States Supreme Court work. He has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer in the area of appellate practice from 2007-2016, and has also been named in The Best Lawyers In America (Appellate Law) (2014-2016).

High Impact Wins


Los Angeles County Flood Control Dist. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (2013) 133 S.Ct. 710

Obtained Reversal

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Messerschmidt v. Millender (2012) 565 U.S. 535

Obtained Reversal

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Los Angeles County v. Humphries (2010) 562 U.S. 29

Obtained Reversal

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Van de Kamp v. Goldstein (2009) 555 U.S. 335

Obtained Reversal

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County of Riverside v. McLaughlin (1991) 500 U.S. 44

Obtained Reversal

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Speaking and Involvement

Lecturer, A Moving Target: Evolving Standards On The Establishment Clause, California County Counsel Association Civil Law and Litigation Spring 2017 Conference
Lecturer, United States Supreme Court Search & Seizure cases as applied to SWAT teams, National Tactical Officer Association Legal Summit, Chandler, Arizona, June 2016
What Trial Lawyers Need To Know About Appeals, Federal Bar Association, Northern District of California Chapter
Lecturer, Qualified Immunity and Municipal Liability, La Verne University of Law Section 1983 Symposium
Panelist, California Government Tort Liability: Claims, Litigation and Recent Developments, California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB)
Success on Appeal: Advice From Appellate Counsel, Questions an Appellate Lawyer Would Ask and You Should Ask When Taking or Defending an Appeal, County Counsels' Association of California Annual Conference
The Bread and Butter Defenses: A Short Overview of the Claims Statute and Immunities, Los Angeles County Counsel Seminar
Litigating and Settling Section 1983 Fee Claims, Lorman Educational Services, San Diego, California
Recent Developments in Police Civil Liability Litigation
The Human Rights Act: The Practical Implications for British Policing – Learning from the U.S. Experience, London, England
Civil Writs in the California Courts of Appeal, California State Bar Convention
Appellate Practice for Public Entities, County Counsels' Association of California Annual Conference

Professional Associations

Member, League of California Cities Public Records Act Publication Committee (2007-2008)
Los Angeles County Bar Association: Appellate Courts Committee
American Bar Association: State and Local Government Law Section, Government Operations and Liability Committee, Civil Rights/First Amendment Liability Subcommittee
Federal Bar Association: Appellate Practice Section
Settlement Officer, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two