Deborah R. Rosenthal

Top rated Civil Litigation attorney in San Francisco, California

Simmons Hanly Conroy
Deborah R. Rosenthal
Simmons Hanly Conroy

Practice Areas: Civil Litigation, Products Liability, Class Action & Mass Torts view more

Licensed in California since: 1996

Education: University of San Francisco School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2023

Simmons Hanly Conroy

455 Market Street
Suite 1270
San Francisco, CA 94105 Phone: 650-399-3723 Email: Deborah R. Rosenthal Visit website


Based in the firm’s San Francisco office, Deborah Rosenthal brings 25 years of experience as a litigator to the firm’s asbestos, sexual abuse, and personal injury practice groups. She has helped secure millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on her clients’ behalf, against defective product manufacturers, oil and shipping companies, telecom carriers, and other institutional and individual wrongdoers.

A writer for as long as she can remember, Deborah became a lawyer to use her skills in the most impactful way she could find. She has dedicated her career to representing those who have been exploited and abused by corporations and others who have misused their power to the detriment of others.

“When it works, the civil justice system can restore a sense of fairness and dignity that few other avenues can,” Deborah said. “We have to fight not only for redress for our clients but also to ensure that the system continues to function as it should.”

Investigating the Details

Since 2005, Deborah’s work on mesothelioma cases has yielded multi-million dollar results. She has also helped secure substantial results for victims suffering from other diseases caused by toxic exposures, property owners suffering nuisance conditions, maritime workers, and survivors of sexual violence.

With a background in investigative journalism, Deborah is adept at approaching cases from a number of different angles to find the information the team needs, to either go to trial or mediate.

She devotes most of her time on a case to research and writing, digging into facts and legal principles to provide the best materials for each case. During her career, she has developed materials for more than 100 trials, and she provides key legal analysis on all of the firm’s California cases.

“I like strategizing with my colleagues about how to best serve our clients,” Deborah said. “It’s rewarding to be able to hold corporations accountable for their unacceptable profits-before-people mentality. When they have to answer for their actions, they eventually have no choice but to improve their practices, to everyone’s benefit.”

Achieving Key Verdicts

Deborah’s investigative and brief writing skills were particularly beneficial for the firm’s recent $30 million and $34 million jury verdicts.

In 2018, Deborah handled the lion’s share of the motion practice and discovery for an asbestos case that went to trial against J-M Manufacturing on behalf of Norris Morgan and his wife. Mr. Morgan was exposed to asbestos-containing transite pipe while working as a construction supervisor in the 1970s in Southern California. The jury awarded the Morgans $30.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

In 2019, on the day the jury was impaneled for clients Arthur and Janet Putt’s state court trial against Ford, Ford removed the case to federal court. If it remained there, the Putts wouldn’t have been able to proceed to trial until months if not years later. Deborah successfully wrote and argued an emergency petition to remand the case back to state court within 24 hours, allowing the Putts to have their day in court. Four weeks later, the jury awarded a $34 million verdict to the Putts, for their injuries and damages arising out of Mr. Putt’s asbestos-caused cancer.

Both verdicts were ranked on the Top 100 Verdicts List for that year by the National Law Journal and VerdictSearch, which tracks the nation’s largest jury verdicts each year. Additional examples of Deborah’s cases, in the past decade, that have resulted in six- and seven-figure settlements include:

  • $ 8.2 million for an engineer who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos by contractors working at a Los Angeles refinery
  • $ 6.9 million for a laborer who developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure while working at various Southern California refineries
  • $ 6.4 million for an electrician who developed mesothelioma from his shipboard and railroad electrical work
  • $3.7 million for the wife of a construction worker who developed mesothelioma from her exposure to asbestos that her husband carried home on his work clothes
  • $295,000 for an elementary school student sexually assaulted in the school bathroom by another student
  • $125,000 for a middle school student sexually and verbally harassed by another student at school

Safeguarding Civil Rights

Deborah is passionate about helping historically underserved populations get meaningful access to justice. In 2018, she traveled to the Texas border to prepare Central American asylum seekers for their credible fear interviews, while they were incarcerated with their children in the nation’s largest family detention center. In 2019, she assisted a non-profit doing similar work at the San Diego-Mexico border; and in 2020, she helped an immigrants’ rights attorney obtain the release of a Guatemalan teen who was trafficked into the country, from a detention facility for unaccompanied minors in Northern California. And in Fall 2020, she traveled to Las Vegas and Phoenix to serve as a poll observer at various sites where there was concern that voters’ rights might be compromised during early voting and on Election Day.

Practice areas

Civil Litigation: Plaintiff, Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff, Class Action/Mass Torts: Plaintiff, Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff

First Admitted: 1996, California

Professional Webpage:

Pro bono/Community Service:
  • I have worked with L4GG and HIAS to assist immigrants in their efforts to obtain asylum and work permits. Since 2020, I have served on the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Taskforce for Eradication of Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession.  
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California
Educational Background:
  • University of San Francisco School of Law
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Daily Journal: “Top Women Lawyers,” 2017, Top Women Lawyers, Daily Journal, 2017
  • Best Lawyers: “Best Lawyers in America” in 2018-2022 in the areas of Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury Litigation and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers
Industry Groups:
  • Consumers
  • Families
  • Workers

Office location for Deborah R. Rosenthal

455 Market Street
Suite 1270
San Francisco, CA 94105


5 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2023

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