Shawn A. Toliver


Shawn Toliver is the Managing Partner of the Walnut Creek office of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP, a co-chair of the firm’s national General Liability Practice, a member of the firm’s Finance Committee, a former member of the firm’s Compensation Committee, and former Managing Partner of the San Francisco office. 

Mr. Toliver has almost 30 years of experience as a litigator and trial attorney in California State and Federal Courts. Additionally, Mr. Toliver has many years of experience handling professional liability claims including medical malpractice, dental malpractice, legal malpractice, and accounting malpractice cases. He regularly handles cases presenting multimillion dollar exposure pertaining to alleged catastrophic damages arising from transportation accidents, industrial workplace and construction site accidents, product liability, premises security, fires, floods, wrongful death cases, business and commercial litigation, professional liability including accountants, attorneys, and medical professionals, employment related litigation, and debtor/creditor litigation. 

The majority of the cases Mr. Toliver defends involve catastrophic injuries and damages, including traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, amputations, and wrongful death. Representative clients include the general contractor, for which, Mr. Toliver served as lead defense counsel for the general contractor in a 22 case coordinated litigation, known as the Walnut Creek Pipeline Fire litigation, arising out of a high-pressured jet fuel pipeline explosion in Northern California resulting in 5 deaths, 4 serious burn cases, and various other claims including business interruption claims. He also serves as national coordinating counsel for a national security company and a national commercial property owner.

Mr. Toliver is frequently asked to parachute into cases shortly prior to trial as lead trial counsel. He has tried multiple transportation cases to verdict. He has tried cases in both state and federal court. Mr. Toliver has also been hired to defend cases in other jurisdictions, including a traumatic brain injury case in New Mexico, an amputation case in federal court in Hawaii, and a multiple shooting case in Colorado. He has been hired to try cases in many northern California counties, as well as Monterrey and Fresno in the central valley, and Riverside and Orange County in Southern California.

Mr. Toliver has lectured/given presentations on catastrophic case evaluation, defending traumatic brain injury cases, handling and defending excess exposure cases, defending transportation cases, indemnity claims, construction OCIPs, and avoiding litigation pitfalls.

Legal Experience

  • Successfully tried a number of civil state court and federal court trials to both jury and judge defense verdicts. Trials include actions involving catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury, quadriplegic injuries, wrongful death, toxic exposure, construction and industrial injuries, products liability, flood cases, and general liability including premises claims.
  • Successfully argued before the California Court of Appeals 
  • Arbitrated in excess of 75 cases 
  • Frequently parachute into case as trial counsel
  • Monitoring and coordinating counsel in multi-jurisdictional actions for various self-insured clients 
  • Handles claims involving contract disputes, real property rights, discrimination, and trademark infringement  
  • Substantial experience in alternative dispute resolution procedures 
  • Lead trial attorney involved in all phases of pre-trial and trial preparation

Professional Presentations

  • Presented and coordinated numerous Continuing Education Seminars.
  • Mr. Toliver has provided in-house and client seminars and presentations regarding various litigation issues including contractual indemnity provisions, proposition 51 analysis, risk transfer, accident investigation, litigation prevention and avoiding litigation pitfalls.


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
  • State Supreme Courts
    • California Supreme Court
  • State Appellate Courts
    • California Courts of Appeal
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
    • United States District Court for the District of Hawaii
  • United States Courts of Appeals
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


California State Courts

Federal Courts – Northern District and Eastern District and Hawaii District Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit


  • San Francisco County Bar Association
  • Alameda County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute, Product Liability and Construction Law committees
  • Association of Defense Counsel
  • Italian Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers

Awards & Honors

AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell's Peer Review


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1990

Oral Roberts University

Bachelor of Science, 1985

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