L. William Locke


William’s practice focuses on the defense of general liability matters, including premises liability, motor vehicle, products liability, municipal liability, and civil rights actions.

Before joining Forsberg & Umlauf, William spent the first years of his career as an attorney working in Los Angeles for a large, full service law firm based in Southern California. His practice in California included general liability defense, underinsured motorist arbitration, business interruption, construction litigation, and insurance coverage. While in law school, he served as a judicial extern to the Honorable S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California.

Representative Cases

  • Obtained a defense award at an arbitration arising from an automobile accident. Plaintiff alleged that our client unlawfully crossed an intersection, unlawfully drove down the center lane on the next block, and then struck Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff claimed significant injuries and property damages because of the accident. At arbitration, William established that our client did not proximately cause the accident. The arbitrator issued an award for the defense.
  • Represented a traffic management contractor in wrongful death action arising from a fatal collision between a motor vehicle and two pedestrians. Plaintiffs argued liability against client based on placement of traffic control barriers, which allegedly diverted pedestrians into the path of traffic. Successfully obtained summary judgment.
  • Represented property owner in civil rights action brought by blind persons for alleged violations of California’s Bane Act and Disabled Persons Act for alleged intentional deprivation of civil rights and denial of access to public property. Successfully demurred to the plaintiffs’ complaint at the pleading stage, resulting in a dismissal with prejudice of the entire action. The California Court of Appeal left trial court ruling undisturbed.
  • Represented seller of junked/salvaged vehicles in a products liability action arising from a fatal rollover accident. Filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that client’s common law duties of care are curtailed by a California statute that exempts vehicle dismantlers from certain statutory inspection and repair requirements. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the claims against client before the hearing on the motion.
  • Represented asphalt paving contractor in a premises liability action arising from a slip and fall on an allegedly slippery paint stripe. Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendant under California’s completed and accepted doctrine.

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • Washington State Bar Association (Diversity Committee Member, 2018-Present)
  • American Bar Association
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers

Articles & Presentations

  • Panelist: Diversity Fellowship Panel, University of Washington School of Law, November 19, 2018
  • Presenter: “Juror Psychology: The State of Research and Practical Implications for Civil Litigation,” Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S., November 21, 2018