Melissa was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated summa cum laude from Westminster College in 1990 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. Melissa received her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1993. She graduated cum laude, was a member of the Order of the Coif, and served as Managing Editor of the Missouri Law Review. After graduating from law school, Melissa served as a law clerk to the Honorable Roger L. Wollman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Melissa joined Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. in 1995 and was a partner in the firm’s litigation section. On January 1, 2016, Melissa began practicing with Evans, Haigh & Hinton, L.L.P., a litigation firm with an emphasis in complex personal injury, commercial, and professional liability matters. Melissa has handled a variety of cases in a number of different practice areas. Presently, the majority of Melissa’s practice is focused on the area of healthcare law, where she represents healthcare providers and healthcare facilities in professional liability actions. Melissa has experience representing hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare professionals in both the trial court and appellate court levels. Melissa also represents healthcare providers and facilities in regulatory, compliance, and licensure issues.
Melissa is admitted to practice in Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota. She is a member of the Defense Research Institute, the Federal Practice Committee for the District of South Dakota, and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Melissa serves on Sanford’s Board of Trustees.
Melissa is recognized by Best Lawyers® in the areas of Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Medical Malpractice Law- Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants; and Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants. She was also recently named Best Lawyers 2016 Insurance “Lawyer of the Year” for Sioux Falls, SD.
Professional Liability Defense
Commercial and Complex Litigation
Evans Haigh & Hinton LLP
Partner 2016 — Present
Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP
Partner 2000 — 2015
Associate 1995 — 1999
Law Clerk to Honorable Roger L. Wollman
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit 1993 — 1994
(B.A., summa cum laude, 1990)
University of Missouri-Columbia
(J.D., cum laude, 1993)
(Managing Editor, Missouri Law Review)
(Author, Note, Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.: Has Batson been Stretched Too Far? 57 Mo. L.Rev. 569 (1992))
Order of the Coif
Admitted to Practice (State)
South Dakota, 1995
Admitted to Practice (Federal)
United States District Court, District of South Dakota, 1995
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 1993
Professional Honors and Memberships
State Bar of South Dakota
The Missouri Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
American Board of Trial Advocates