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Deborah J. Fox

Deborah J. FoxPrincipal213.626.2906Bio PDF


Deborah Fox is the Chair of Meyers Nave’s statewide First Amendment and Trial & Litigation Practice Groups. She is one of California’s foremost experts on First Amendment issues, particularly those affecting the public sector, and has a unique expertise with cases involving the convergence of First Amendment, land use, and zoning laws and regulations. Outside the courtroom, Deborah provides creative solutions to clients as they address complex legal issues.

Deborah’s practice includes trial and appellate work in state and federal courts and extensive experience with judicially coordinated cases, and other proceedings before regulatory agencies. She has a proven track record litigating a wide range of matters, including those that involve environmental claims, wildfire litigation, land use, zoning, housing, general plans, coastal issues, inverse condemnation, federal preemption, public records, elections and ballot initiatives, and civil rights claims for violations of substantive and procedural due process and equal protection. Her complex litigation experience includes multi-party and multi-district cases, civil litigations intertwined with pending criminal actions, and matters requiring managing, researching, reviewing and interpreting extensive electronic information.

A battle-tested lawyer, Deborah has built a reputation as a go-to attorney for sensitive political issues that attract intense media attention and elevated public scrutiny. Her cases frequently involve matters of first impression. For example, Deborah is currently representing the County of Santa Barbara in an indemnity dispute with Southern California Edison (Edison) where the utility is seeking recovery of 1.3 billion dollars as a result of the 2017 Thomas Fire and subsequent Montecito debris flow. This is the first time in wildfire litigation that a company is seeking to blame various public entities in hopes of reallocating the cost of wildfire litigation to others. Deborah recently secured dispositive motions excluding more than $1 billion of Edison’s damage claim.

She also defends counties, cities and public officials throughout California in federal and state court litigation challenging Shelter In Place Orders, Public Health Orders and Reopening Plans related to the coronavirus pandemic. Deborah has obtained precedent-setting victories at both the district and appellate court levels.

Many of Deborah’s other high-profile cases involve First Amendment issues relating to commercial solicitation and panhandling ordinances, news rack restrictions, billboard and sign ordinances, public forum issues, parade and park regulations, adult use regulations, and regulation in compliance with the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

Deborah speaks and writes about topical issues facing municipalities and addresses the complex balance between various regulatory constraints and constitutional protections. Her speaking includes numerous presentations at conferences provided by the International Municipal Lawyers Association, League of California Cities, and County Counsels’ Association of California. Deborah is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of California, United States Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all U.S. District Courts in California.


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