David S. Coats

David S. Coats

Bailey & Dixon, LLP

Recognized since 2007

Raleigh, North Carolina

Practice Areas

Commercial Litigation

Construction Law

Insurance Law

Litigation - Construction

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2015 - Insurance Law
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David Coats is the firm's co-managing partner and senior litigation partner. He has been recognized by and peer selected for each of the past 14 years for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America; Business North Carolina Magazine's Legal Elite; and 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 2021 (as well as in 2019 and 2020), North Carolina Super Lawyers named David as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina. They also named him in 2021 as one of the Top Lawyers in Raleigh. 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.

Mr. Coats 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. Mr. Coats 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.

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.

Contact & Links


  • 434 Fayetteville Street, Suite 2500
    Raleigh, NC 27601


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

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 1988


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

Court Admissions

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

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2015 - Insurance Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Insurance Law, Raleigh (2015)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Insurance Law
  • Construction Law
  • Litigation - Construction
  • Commercial Litigation

Special Focus

  • Appellate
  • Bad Faith
  • Commercial
  • Construction
  • Coverage
  • Environmental
  • Liability Insurance
  • Litigation

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, 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 purchase 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 homeowner's insurance policy "motor vehicle" exclusion)

Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Williams

123 N.C. App. 103, 472 S.E. 2d 220 (1996) (underinsured motorist 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 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. Fire 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)

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