Melanie Merkle Atha

Melanie Merkle Atha: Attorney with Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O'Neal LLP


Melanie Atha regularly handles medical malpractice cases and other general litigation for one of Jefferson County’s major hospitals. She also represents individual physicians for three national medical malpractice insurers. She defends various employers in worker compensation and other employment related claims, and also handles a variety of products liability, general negligence and probate cases.

Ms. Atha is trained in Collaborative Practice. She is currently serving as President of the Global Collaborative Law Council, (“GCLC”). GCLC is an international organization dedicated to the promotion of the collaborative process for resolving civil disputes outside of court; training lawyers and other professionals in the use of collaborative; educating the public as to the benefits of collaborative; and preserving the integrity of the collaborative process. She is also a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), a consortium of lawyers, financial professionals and mental health professionals who are committed to helping resolve civil and domestic relations disputes in a collaborative manner outside traditional legal forums. Ms. Atha also currently serves as Co-Chairman of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution’s Collaborative Law Committee. She is a founding member of the Birmingham Collaborative Alliance, Alabama’s first and only Collaborative Practice Group, for which she is an immediate past president. For more information about this aspect of her practice, see,, and Ms. Atha is also trained as a domestic relations mediator.

Ms. Atha was born on December 4, 1965, and was raised in Faunsdale, Alabama. She is a member of the Birmingham, Alabama and American Bar Associations. She is a member of the Alabama Defense Lawyer’s Association, Defense Research Institute, and the Torts and Insurance Practice, Healthcare, Family Law, and Dispute Resolution Sections of the ABA. She is active in state and local bar activities. In January 2007, Ms. Atha was elected by her peers as a Charter Fellow in The Litigation Counsel of America, a national trial lawyer honorary society. She served on the Alabama Law Institute’s Committee on Collaborative Law. Ms. Atha is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, and has been listed in the Alabama Super Lawyers’ in Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice since 2012. In 2013, she was listed in the top 25 women lawyers in Alabama by Super Lawyers.

Ms. Atha is an active member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. She is a Trustee Emerita of the Board of Trustees for her high school alma mater, Marion Military Institute.

Areas of Practice (9)

  • Medical Malpractice Defense
  • Personal Injury Litigation
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Business Litigation
  • Probate Litigation
  • Worker's Compensation Litigation
  • Products Liability Defense
  • Employment Litigation
  • Domestic Relations Mediation

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
205-716-5212  Phone
205-716-5389  Fax
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 830612, Birmingham, AL 35203-4804
University Attended:
Birmingham-Southern College, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude, 1986
Law School Attended:
Vanderbilt University, J.D., 1990
Year of First admission:
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama; U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit; 1990, Alabama
Birmingham Bar Association; Alabama Bar Association; American Bar Association
Birth Information:
Birmingham, Alabama, December 4, 1965

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