Melissa Gardner


Melissa Gardner is a partner in the Chicago office of Lewis Brisbois. She is an experienced litigator in our office's General Liability, Insurance Coverage, Bad Faith Litigation, National Trial and Long-Term Care & Elder Law Practices. Over the years, Melissa has successfully handled a number of sophisticated legal disputes throughout the State of Illinois. She currently handles all aspects of litigation, from claim inception through resolution at trial or on appeal. Along the way, Melissa has first chaired numerous arbitrations and trials, both before the judge and jury. She regularly counsels corporate and private individuals alike in the defense of a wide array of legal actions. In that regard, Melissa has actively litigated cases involving medical fraud, auto accidents, premises liability, product liability, wrongful death, breach of contract, in-home healthcare, elder abuse, and medical and nurse malpractice claims to name a few. Additionally, she has counseled clients on insurance coverage and bad faith issues throughout her career.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • General Liability

Additional Experience



U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois


  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association

Awards & Honors

CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Trial Advocacy, 2014


DePaul University College of Law

Juris Doctor, 2015

University of Illinois

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications, 2012

Representative Cases

  • Trent v. Berg (Will County, 2022) (obtained defense verdict in rear-end MVA case wherein defendant admitted liability prior to trial. Plaintiff alleged neck and back injuries, pain management treatment and numerous injections, and on-going pain & suffering)
  • Dardawoud v. Rickoff (Cook County, 2021)(obtained defense verdict in motor vehicle accident where defendant reversed into the plaintiff’s vehicle and plaintiff alleged neck and back injuries and on-going pain & suffering)
  • McLain v. Barstatis (DuPage County, 2019) (obtained defense verdict in rear-end MVA case wherein plaintiff alleged neck disc protrusions, shoulder injury, radiculopathy, ablation procedures and on-going pain & suffering)
  • Venice v. Eckersberg (Will County, 2019) (obtained defense verdict in rear-end MVA case wherein plaintiff alleged lumbar fusion, neck injury, several epidural injections and continuous pain)
  • Papandria v. Raczak (Will, 2019) (successfully defended rear-end MVA on highway wherein Plaintiff alleged neck, shoulder and TFCC wrist injury)
  • Burton & Ellis v. Thomas (Cook, 2019) (successfully defended rear-end MVA wherein Plaintiff alleged being hit twice by the defendant on a highway at 70mph. Plaintiffs' claimed soft tissue injuries and continuing pain. Jury awarded less than the ER bills and found the plaintiff driver to be 40% at fault)

Prior Experience

  • 7-11 Licensed student for Misdemeanor Clinic at DePaul University College of Law
  • Summer Associate for Lewis Brisbois
  • Law Clerk for Lewis Brisbois and Hinshaw and Culbertson