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Deborah S. Chang

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Deborah S. Chang

Deborah Chang is a trial lawyer, and is also a partner and founder of Athea Trial Lawyers LLP.  She focuses her practice representing plaintiffs in complex catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases and has achieved some of the highest verdicts and settlements in the country.  She is the 2022 President of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and the 2021 President of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC).

Deborah has been an integral part of the teams in significant and important trials, including the Michael Jackson wrongful death case, the first ASR model hip implant trial tried in the country, and a $160,500,000 verdict that led to significant changes in industries using security guards.

Many of her cases of first impression led to significant changes in industry standards and practices that improved safety for the public, including the following:

  • Record $17 million verdict in wrongful death of an adult child that ensured that visually impaired patrons using trains would be protected from falling in the gap between cars – thereby setting the stage for changes throughout the industry nationwide (Cuhbertson v. LACMTA).
  • After a nearly ten-year battle in the trial court, Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court, she prevailed in establishing that colleges and universities in California have a duty to protect students from known dangers in the classroom (Rosen v. The Regents of the University of California).
  • Bringing the first class action in the country on behalf of prisoners with AIDS in a maximum security prison, which led to a landmark settlement that established medical, programming, and housing protocols nationwide and was cited with approval by the 1991 Report to the President and Senate by the National Commission on AIDS. She thereafter drafted enacted Connecticut legislation that permitted the release of terminally ill prisoners, and established the first medical scholarship for individuals pursuing a nursing degree to work with patients with AIDS.
  • In 1996, she brought the first lawsuit in the country based on the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. section 13891 (VAWA) and successfully argued for the uphold­ing of the constitutionality of the statute in the first federal court to consider the issue. After reaching a settlement in the case, she lectured extensively on the issue of gender-motivated violence, and was a guest commentator on several national television shows regarding the statute, both before and after the United States Supreme Court eventually ruled that the civil remedy portion of the statute was unconstitutional.


Named to
Super Lawyer / Super Lawyer Rising Stars, Best Lawyers / Best Lawyers Ones to Watch


Licensed Since
Licensed In
California, Florida, Connecticut
Drake University Law School

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