Sean P.J. Coyle

Special Counsel

Sean Coyle is an experienced trial lawyer, assisting clients in navigating white collar criminal and enforcement matters and the related lawsuits and regulatory proceedings that often come with them. Sean defends clients in major criminal cases and sensitive investigations involving publicly traded companies, corporate officers, and public officials. He has substantial experience in regulatory investigations, including before the Securities and Exchange Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission, and has handled a wide range of commercial litigation matters in state and federal courts.

Prior to joining Coblentz, Sean served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in San Diego. He investigated and prosecuted cases involving virtually every kind of fraud, including securities and insider trading, defense procurement, health care, and tax and bank fraud, as well as cases involving public corruption, obstruction of justice, and money laundering crimes. As a prosecutor, Sean worked extensively on criminal matters that included parallel civil enforcement and qui tam proceedings with agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Sean served as the Southern District of California’s Health Care Fraud Coordinator, responsible for overseeing the district’s healthcare and life sciences-related criminal investigations.

Sean also previously worked for Latham & Watkins, LLP, in securities litigation, white collar criminal defense, and regulatory investigations. 

Notable Representations

  • Part of the defense team in United States v. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a four-month criminal trial and one of the most complicated corporate criminal cases in the history of the Northern District of California, which stemmed from investigations into PG&E's gas safety practices following a transmission pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California. The case started with government allegations that could have resulted in a fine of over $1 billion, and ended with dismissal or acquittal on 22 of the 28 counts charged, and a total fine of $3 million.
  • Represented the CFO of a publicly-traded media company in Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action, resulting in a favorable settlement. 
  • Represented a Fortune 200 company in regulatory and criminal investigations alleging improper contacts with the company’s regulators. 
  • Represented a Fortune 100 software company and several of its officers and directors in a multi-billion dollar securities fraud class action, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory.

Honors & Awards

As a prosecutor, Sean was recognized with an award for extraordinary dedication from a United States Inspectors General national council, and received commendations from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Prisons.

Professional Activities

Sean is a member of the California State Bar, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel.

Education

Sean earned his J.D. from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University – Bloomington, where he graduated magna cum laude with election to the Order of the Coif, and where he served as a Managing Editor of the Indiana Law Journal.  Prior to law school, Sean received his B.A. in history from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.