Heather Snider-Levinsky has extensive experience in the defense of general and excess commercial liability policies for commercial businesses and insurance companies throughout Illinois and across the country.

She focuses her practice on defending clients in product liability, medical malpractice, construction, premises liability, transportation and catastrophic personal injury matters. She is co-chair of the firm’s Transportation practice group.

Heather aggressively litigates cases nationwide, diving into each case with an eye on the full picture to develop the best defense for the client and the most effective trial strategy. Through this process, she identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the case and analyzes how they can be effectively attacked and defended throughout litigation.

She supports this strategy with an intense focus on witness preparation and depositions, which is truly where cases are decided – and defenses are maintained.

Prior to joining Segal McCambridge, Heather was a partner at a Midwest litigation defense firm where she successfully handled cases from initial pre-suit analysis through trial, assisting on jury trials in medical negligence, personal injury and construction cases with exposures over $100 million.

She began her career as a paralegal, supporting attorneys representing commercial businesses and insurance companies in asbestos, construction defect and workers compensation matters. Following law school, she continued her career as an associate attorney at a civil litigation defense firm.

Heather earned her J.D. from Michigan State University, where she was a managing editor of the Michigan State Law Review and participated in the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute. She holds a B.S. in legal studies and in political science from Winona State University.

In her free time, Heather enjoys running, barre classes and reading.

Honors

  • Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2020 – present
  • Illinois Emerging Lawyers, 2021

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • Chicago Bar Association, 2012 – present
  • Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee, 2021 – present
  • DRI
  • Illinois Defense Counsel
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS)
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, 2012 – present

Practice Highlights

Representative Matters

  • Served as second chair in a Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, medical malpractice and long-term care wrongful death case. The plaintiff refused to reduce the policy limits demand and requested in excess of $5 million from the jury; however, the jury awarded $380,000.
  • Successfully negotiated a nominal settlement in a medical malpractice and long-term-care negligence case pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, following the deposition of the plaintiff and his wife.
  • Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement in a premises liability case pending in Madison County, Illinois, following completion of written discovery.
  • Secured favorable settlement following the depositions of plaintiff’s experts in a premises liability case in Indianapolis arising out of a slip and fall rendering the plaintiff a quadriplegic. The plaintiff’s demand was in excess of $65 million.
  • Defended a products liability case rendering plaintiff a paraplegic in Cook County, Illinois. Retained by the excess carrier shortly before expert disclosures were due and ultimately the case settled following aggressive motion in limine practice, with the excess carrier’s contribution being the cost of defense.
  • Secured a favorable settlement prior to trial with the client’s contribution limited to the cost of defense in a personal injury case in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The case involved a plaintiff who was injured in an airport transport van due to road construction, resulting in claims for permanent neck injury and inability to return to work, as well as a demand for more than $10 million dollars in damages.
  • Secured an early favorable settlement in a premises liability and security case in Cook County, Illinois, involving a shooting at an apartment complex by a third-party individual rendering the plaintiff a quadriplegic. Retained early in the case by the excess carrier to aggressively defend the case and combat a multimillion-dollar demand.
  • Secured a nominal settlement amount, including recovery of a multimillion-dollar workers compensation lien, for the client in a construction accident case in Cook County, Illinois, rendering the plaintiff a paraplegic. The plaintiff asked for more than $30 million in damages.
  • Settled for a fraction of a $30 million demand after undermining the plaintiff’s causation claims against an insured in an alleged medical malpractice case in San Diego. The matter involved a plaintiff presenting after suffering a suspected seizure who was transferred to another hospital for continued care and ultimately diagnosed with suffering a bilateral vertebral artery and cervical artery dissection.
  • Settled a matter for a fraction of the demand early in the oral discovery process due to aggressive witness preparation in an alleged medical malpractice and negligence case in Clark County, Nevada. The matter involved discharge of a newborn to a home with an unknown CPS alert for the mother’s abuse of another child. The newborn suffered injuries due to shaken-baby syndrome one week later, resulting in catastrophic injuries. The plaintiff’s initial demand was for more than $175 million dollars.

Publications

Speaking Engagements

  • “Litigating in the Age of COVID: The Expert Perspective on Medical Malpractice, Work Accident, and Mass Torts Cases,” Chicago Bar Association Tort Litigation Committee, 2021
  • “Zoom Trials,” The Litigation Psychology Podcast #58, Courtroom Sciences, 2021

Publications

  • “Can You Hear Me Now? Eight Things We Wish We Had Known Before Having a Trial by Zoom,” co-author, For The Defense, Defense Research Institute, 2021
  • “Damages,” contributing editor, LexisNexis Practice Guide: Illinois Personal Injury Litigation, 2021
  • “Default and Default Judgment,” contributing editor, Civil Practice: Preparing for Trial, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2021
  • “Civil Practice: Preparing for Trial,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2022