Diane Webster is a trial attorney who focuses her practice on civil defense litigation including medical and healthcare litigation, products liability, pharmaceutical liability, and medical/surgical device litigation. Her clients include hospitals and physicians, insurance companies, a medical/surgical device company, state and county governments, and a major league baseball organization. Her practice also includes premises liability, municipal law and government litigation.
Ms. Webster has defended a number of complex/catastrophic litigation cases involving medical negligence, birth trauma, obstetrical, neonatal negligence and neurologic injuries. For example, Ms. Webster defended a $21 million claim against an oncologist for an alleged failure to diagnose and treat underlying cardiomyopathy which led to heart failure and a decreased life expectancy. The jury returned a same day verdict of not guilty as to all counts. She has been an integral player in a number of multimillion dollar litigation cases that were successfully resolved to the satisfaction of her clients, including a $25 million claim against a local hospital, alleging obstetrical negligence, that was successfully settled on behalf of the hospital. Ms. Webster also has experience litigating cases involving allegedly defective or malfunctioning medical devices. For example, she successfully defended a wrongful death action involving a high tech interventional vascular closure device.
Ms. Webster is the Partner-in-Charge of Hinshaw's Chicago office, which was recognized as one of the "11 Coolest Offices" in Chicago by Crain's Chicago Business.
Ms. Webster is Co-Chair of Hinshaw's Hispanic/Latino Attorney Network and also serves on the firm's Hiring Committee and Attorney Life Committee. She is active in the firm's mentoring program, where she mentors both associate attorneys and summer associates.
- Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Member
- Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Member
- Hispanic National Bar Association, Member
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Fellow
- Chicago Bar Association Alliance For Women, Executive Committee, Member
- Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), Member
- Alivio Medical Center Gala Committee, Member, 2015
Honors & Awards
- Named to "Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago" list by Crain's Chicago Business, 2017
- Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" by Leading Lawyers Magazine, 2017
- Invited to participate in World Heritage Event at the White House, 2016
- Selected by her peers and named by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer Magazine as one of the top "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch," 2013
- Recognized as an "Emerging Lawyer" by Leading Lawyers Magazine, 2015–2016
- Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2013–2016
- Named to Diversity MBA Magazine "2012 Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders" list.
- Selected as a 2011 Fellow in the inaugural year of the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity's (LCLD) Fellows program
Ms. Webster has defended a number of complex/catastrophic litigation cases involving medical negligence, birth trauma, obstetrical, neonatal negligence and neurologic injuries. She has been an integral player in multimillion dollar litigation cases that were successfully resolved to the satisfaction of her clients.
Her representative matters include:
Represented a gastroenterologist and his group in a three-and-a-half week wrongful death trial of a 64 year old woman. Plaintiff alleged defendants misdiagnosed the patient with gall bladder disease. They allege defendants further failed to timely diagnose and treat a paraesophageal hernia by failing to order a CT scan after the patient presented to the emergency department with persistent abdominal pain and subsequent testing had ruled out the gall bladder as the etiology of her pain. Plaintiff contended a CT scan would have timely made the diagnosis and would have avoided subsequent strangulation, rupture, cardiac arrest and death. The defense argued plaintiff presented with the classic signs of a gall bladder attack which later showed signs of improvement allowing the defense to wait to order further testing. When the patient’s condition deteriorated the following day, appropriate testing had been ordered, an EGD, which would have diagnosed a hernia, but the plaintiff refused to undergo the testing allegedly due to excruciating pain. Shortly thereafter, the patient arrested, coded, and was taken to emergency surgery, dying four days later. Plaintiff asked for $3.65 million, and the jury returned a not guilty verdict the same day.
- Represented an oncologist in a medical malpractice suit in which plaintiff, a 44 year old woman, presented to our client with stage 3 breast cancer and was treated with Adriamycin chemotherapy which has a known risk of cardiotoxicty or heart damage. Plaintiff alleged a failure to diagnose a subclinical or underlying cardiomyopathy as well as a failure to order an echocardiogram, MUGA scan, and cardiology consult after the patient later developed signs and symptoms of cardio toxicity which led to permanent heart failure and the need for a heart transplant. Plaintiff also alleged a decreased life expectancy, with approx 10 years of life remaining. After a two week trial, plaintiff's counsel asked the Cook County jury for $21 million, and the jury returned the same day with a verdict of not guilty as to all counts.
- Represented a Chicagoland hospital in an obstetrical negligence action involving an alleged failure to timely perform a Cesarean section resulting in fetal brain damage and cerebral palsy. Plaintiff specifically alleged that the fetus sustained brain damage during the second stage of labor due to venous sinus stagnation thrombosis (VSST). VSST is a condition that allegedly occurs from excessive pressure placed on the fetus' head while in the occiput posterior position during a prolonged second stage of labor, and with an arrest of descent. The plaintiff, now 15 years old, suffers spastic triplegia and is wheelchair-bound. After two weeks of trial, plaintiff asked in excess of $19 million and the jury returned a not guilty verdict in favor of the hospital.
- Represented an internist in a medical malpractice action involving an alleged failure to timely diagnose and treat a spinal hematoma in a 61-year-old female after undergoing a femoral popliteal bypass graft surgery rendering her paraplegic. Plaintiff specifically alleged that the internist was negligent in relying on medical advice given by a neurosurgeon over the telephone, rather than transferring the patient to a hospital where a neurosurgeon could perform an in-person consultation which would have necessitated immediate neurosurgery to evacuate the hematoma. Due to the multiple defendants' alleged negligence, the patient became paraplegic, wheelchair-bound, and subsequently had both legs amputated. The patient also suffered bilateral pulmonary emboli and required placement of a permanent suprapubic catheter. After 3.5 weeks of trial, plaintiff asked for more than $21 million and the jury returned a not guilty verdict in favor of defendants.
- Tried a wrongful death medical malpractice case in Cook County, Illinois. Defendant nephrologist had been managing a patient on anticoagulant medication as an inpatient at a hospital. On the day of discharge, the patient went into a violent seizure and was diagnosed with a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage. Plaintiffs argued that the nephrologist was negligent because he had been contacted the evening before by a nurse, advising him that the patient was complaining of a severe headache despite having been given morphine and several vicodin pills. Plaintiffs argued that this fact, along with the fact that the patient’s anticoagulation levels were over the therapeutic limits, meant that the standard of care required an emergency CT scan and neurology consult to rule out the beginnings of a subarachnoid bleed as the cause of this headache. Plaintiffs asked the jury for $7.7 million. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
- Successfully defended a $1.25 million claim against a local physician for failure to properly perform surgery where the jury returned a not guilty verdict on behalf of the physician.
- Successfully defended a $25 million claim against a local hospital, alleging obstetrical negligence. Case was settled on behalf of the hospital.
Ms. Webster is involved with Hinshaw University, the firm's nationwide attorney training and education program. She has also participated in the firm's Trial Advocacy program, demonstrating direct and cross examination techniques in a mock trial setting. Select presentations Ms. Webster has conducted to train Hinshaw attorneys include:
- "The Ethics of Diversity and the Economics of Inclusion," The Institute for inclusion in the Legal Profession, March 19, 2017
- "Trial Advocacy Series: Session 2- How to Pick the Right Jury for Your Case- Do's and Don'ts," Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, January 2016
- "Use of Learned Treatises at Trial," Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, national teleconference, June 2012
- "Motions in Limine," Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP 2011 Trial Advocacy Program, June 2011.
- "Presenting Your Own Expert at Trial," Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, national teleconference, April 2011
Her other presentations include:
- "Medical Law Updates," Broadspire National, webinar, May 17, 2017
- "Navigating Your Firm," The Chicago Committee Association, 2017 Annual Law Firm Boot Camp, Chicago, Illinois, February 10, 2017
- "Making A Good First Impression At Your New Job," WBAI New Lawyer Bootcamp, Chicago, Illinois, February 2, 2017
- "Preparing For Expert Witness at Deposition and Trial," Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois, June 2016
- "Diversity's Role in the Path to Success," LCLD Regional Roundtable, moderator, Chicago, Illinois, May 2016
- "Leading and Succeeding from the Courtroom to the Corporate Room," Latina Leading Lawyers, Chicago, Illinois, September 2015
- "Three's Company? Insurance Company's Counsel and Settlement Negotiations," IICLE Representing Medical Practices and Physicians, Chicago, Illinois, April 2015
- "How to be Successful in Law: Top Attorneys Under 40," The Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois, April 2014
- "Advancing Latina Leaders Through the Power of Influence," moderator, Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) Chicago Chapter, September 2013
- "Building Relationships With In-House Counsel: A Guide for Business Managers and Outside Counsel for Mutual Success," ALPFA Chicago Chapter, Chicago, Illinois, June 2012
- "Incivility in the Legal Profession: When Your Client Pays the Price," American Bar Association, live webinar, February 2012
- "Catastrophic Injuries Affecting Latinos and Other Minorities," ALPFA Chicago Chapter, Chicago, Illinois, June 2011
- "Transitioning Closely Held Businesses," ALPFA Chicago Chapter, Chicago, Illinois, October 2010
- "The New Face of Leadership," Emerging Lawyers Magazine, 2016
- Hinshaw's Diane Webster and James Lydon Secure Complete Defense Verdict in $6.25 Million Wrongful Death CaseJanuary 11, 2019
- June 25, 2018Project from Start to Move-In Took Only Nine Months
- Crain's Chicago Business Names Hinshaw & Culbertson's Diane Webster One of Chicago's Most Influential Minority LawyersDecember 11, 2017
- November 30, 2016
- June 14, 2016
- May 18, 2016Appointments Serve to Re-Generate and Add to Diversity of Firm Leadership
- May 18, 2016
- April 8, 2016
- December 18, 2012
- Junior Achievement
- Step-Up Women's Network
- The Metro Achievement Center
- Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly, Volunteer
J.D., cum laude, New England School of Law, 2004
- Associate Editor 2002–2003 and Lead Articles Editor 2003–2004, Journal of International and Comparative Law
B.A., Arizona State University, 2001; Political Science