Proctor in Admiralty | Maritime Law Association of the United States

Certified Legal Specialist in Admiralty and Maritime Law by the State Bar of California

Certain cases I have litigated changed the law and changed in the way certain governments do business. For instance, in Ali v Rogers, a test case before the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, the decision did not rule out a merchant mariner’s right to combine discrimination claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1990 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 using the procedures mandated by the Suits in Admiralty Act and its companion Clarification Act. Our client’s successful appeal in Summers v. United States directly caused modification of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s rules for public use of beaches. This case also clarified the parameters and application of the Discretionary Function Doctrine defense incorporated in the Federal Tort Claims Act. In Cabezas v. United States, tried in the United States District Court between August 2006 and January 2007, my client made new law at the trial level. The United States paid my client a premium to cause that Judgment to be withdrawn, avoiding what would have been case law making it much easier to prove liability against ship owners generally. The City of Burlingame, California revised the installation of and guarding around trees throughout the major shopping street of Burlingame Avenue as a direct result of success in Fie v. City of Burlingame. In Joseph v. Caesar, my clients’ appeal resulted in the expansion of the scopes of persons civilly liable for sexual abuse of a minor.

Areas of Practice

• Admiralty & Maritime Law
• Business & Commercial Law
• Personal Injury — Plaintiff
• Personal Injury — Defense
• Cruise Line Passenger (Admiralty)
• Federal Tort Claims
• Coast Guard License Defense
• Vessel Purchase and Sale
• California Government Tort Claims Act

Litigation Percentage

• 90% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Admissions to Practice

• California, 1973
• U.S. Federal Courts, 1973
• U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
• U.S. District Court Central District of California
• U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
• U.S. District Court Northern District of California
• U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan


• Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• J.D. – 1973
• Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania
• B.A. – 1969

Representative Case

• Summers v. United States, 905 F.2 1212 (9th Cir. 1990)
• Joseph v. Johnson [Caesar], 178 Cal.App.4th 1404 (2009)

Professional Associations and Memberships

• The Maritime Association of the United States, Proctor in Admiralty, 1980
• Consumers Attorneys of California, Member
• San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Member
• Capital City Trial Lawyers Association, Member


Berschler Associates, PC’s senior legal assistant and calendar manager

Ms. Williams has been working with accident and wrongful death claims ever since 1997. She is very familiar with the concerns and needs of the firm’s clients. Ms. Williams regularly interfaces with various court staffs and United States Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge offices throughout the United States in matters in litigation. She has responsibility for overseeing the firm’s master calendar. Ms. Williams graduated the Empire College with a Specialized Associate Degree – Paralegal.