Starr M. Rayford is an experienced litigator representing clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts, administrative agencies, and arbitration forums. She has spent her career developing effective litigation strategies for both trial and settlement, representing a diverse array of public and privately-held businesses, as well as hospitals, healthcare professionals, commercial lenders, and individuals through all aspects of litigation.
Starr has successfully defended clients against breach of contract, negligence, wrongful death, and product liability claims, as well as claims under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Through her transactional work, Starr has guided clients through bankruptcy, drafted contracts, formed a variety of business entities, and helped clients ensure corporate compliance. Her most recent focus has been on advising companies that are exploring and operating in the emerging cannabis market.
As an adjunct professor in Trial Advocacy for Notre Dame Law School, Starr has had the honor of teaching the next generation of lawyers how to identify and evaluate alternatives for achieving client goals, developing and implementing trial and settlement strategies, and deflecting and redirect those strategies as the facts of case develops. As an active member of Chicago’s legal community, she holds a deep dedication to public service and maintains a robust pro bono practice to help ensure that the most vulnerable members of society receive premier legal assistance.
Personal Injury Settlement Proven Excessive and Unreasonable
Successfully negotiated a substantial reduction in settlement after proving through summary judgment motions and mediation that Plaintiff’s eight-figure compensation claim for pain and suffering associated with a traumatic brain injury was excessive and unreasonable. Plaintiff sustained the head injury from falling machinery at Chicago O’Hare Airport. Starr highlighted the weaknesses in Plaintiff’s claim that there was any evidence proving that the machinery was installed by her Client negligently.
Hotel Found Not Liable for Guest Suicide in Private Mediation
The parents of a hotel guest demanded more than $10 million from the hotel where their son checked in and jumped to his death after ingesting alcohol and illegal drugs. Starr successfully negotiated the settlement down to six-figures through private mediation, in which she thoughtfully honored the parents’ grieving process while demonstrating the hotel’s lack of liability for the guest’s decisions and death.
Pro-Bono Appeals Case Argument Cuts Client Sentence in Half
In a recent pro bono case, Starr successfully argued that her Client’s 20-year sentence was unconstitutional. After an intense mental sparing session during oral arguments with Seventh Circuit Judges Richard Posner, Ann Williams and Diane Wood, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed to vacate the Client’s 20-year sentence and remand the case for resentencing. During resentencing, the trial judge adopted Starr’s legal arguments that a 10-year sentence was the only legally-sanctioned sentence available.