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Sarah E. Spencer

sarah.spencer@chrisjen.com
VCard

257 East 200 South, Suite 1100
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Sarah handles cases involving complex commercial disputes, product liability claims and personal injuries.  She also represents clients in a variety of appeals relating to all areas of law.   She practices in state and federal court in Utah and Colorado and in the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal.  In 2016 and 2017, Sarah’s peers selected her for inclusion in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of commercial litigation.  Utah Business Magazine named her one of Utah’s 2017 “Forty Under 40” young professionals.  She is AV–rated by Martindale–Hubbell.  Sarah has consistently been selected as a Mountain States Super Lawyers “Rising Star” and an “Up and Coming” lawyer by Utah Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite.”  
Sarah currently serves as chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the Utah State Bar and as marketing co–chair of the Appellate Advocacy Committee of DRI (Defense Research Institute).  Sarah joined Christensen & Jensen in 2007 after serving two judicial clerkships and working at a boutique litigation firm in Salt Lake City.  Sarah became a shareholder of Christensen & Jensen in 2014.
 
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Commercial Litigation and Business Torts: Represents businesses and individuals in business–related disputes, including cases involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, consumer sales practices, and other business torts.  Representative matters include:
Defended business from claims of breach of contract and conversion relating to asset purchase agreement
Defended guarantor of commercial lease from landlord’s claims seeking recovery for tenant’s default
Defended members of LLC in case alleging state and federal securities fraud, breach of contract, conversion and alter–ego claims
Represented nutraceutical company in connection with fraud, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment claims against a former licensee
Represented transportation company in successfully obtaining a prejudgment writ of attachment against multimillion dollar collateral owned by an international entity in a breach of contract dispute
Defended electronics manufacturer from claims of alleged trade secret misappropriation and predatory hiring
Defended transportation company from claims of alleged breach of indemnification contract
Represented individual in breach of contract and fraud claims involving international hotel franchise
Defended travel agency from contract and rescission claims relating to international travel contract
Defended commercial airline from alleged breach of contract of carriage claim
 
Personal Injury/Property Damage/Tort Defense: Handles product liability, personal injury, and property damage claims. Representative matters include:

Defended a variety of manufacturers from product liability claims, including cases involving home and RV appliances, motor vehicles, vehicle components, medical devices, exercise equipment, farm equipment, stove and chimney components, pressurized bottles, fire suppression system components, firearm ammunition, plumbing materials, chemical solvents, etc.
Defended transportation companies and drivers in wrongful death and catastrophic injury claims arising from semi–truck accidents
Defended property owners and businesses sued in connection with slip–and–fall and other premises liability claims
Represented defendants and plaintiffs heirs in wrongful death cases
Defended drivers and represented injured parties involved in severe motor vehicle collisions

Appeals: Represents entities and individuals in appeals before the Utah Supreme Court, Utah Court of Appeals, Colorado Supreme Court, Colorado Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in appeals from administrative agencies. Representative matters include:

Represented a medical malpractice plaintiff in a post–trial appeal before Utah Supreme Court in a case involving the application of the medical malpractice statute of limitation
Represented an officer of a local fire district in an appeal before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving the constitutionality of Utah’s prescription database statute
Represented a subcontractor in an appeal before the Utah Court of Appeals in a case involving the application of the residential construction statute of repose
Represented a family appealing to the Utah Court of Appeals an adoption decree entered by the Utah Juvenile Court
Represented Utah municipalities before the Utah Court of Appeals in appeals of summary judgment rulings in cases filed under the Utah Post–Conviction Remedies Act
Represented a manufacturer of an asbestos–containing product in an appeal before Utah Supreme Court in a case involving a decedent’s heirs’ wrongful death claim
Represented a criminal defendant in a pro bono appeal before the Utah Supreme Court addressing the indigent defendant’s right to funding for defense resources
Represented a slip–and–fall claimant in an appeal before the Utah Supreme Court arising from the grant of summary judgment to the defendant landowner
Represented a manufacturer of an asbestos–containing product at Utah Court of Appeals in a claim involving alleged mesothelioma
Represented business entities before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in connection with an appeal of a preliminary injunction in a civil enforcement proceeding filed by the Federal Trade Commission
Represented local business before the Utah Supreme Court in claim against insurance company following major fire loss
Represented a decedent’s estate and heirs in an appeal before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the district court’s denial of summary judgment in a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit
Represented a Utah municipality before the Utah Court of Appeals in a case involving alleged First Amendment retaliation arising from community member’s alleged protected speech
Represented a water conservancy district before the Utah Court of Appeals in claim involving alleged flood damage
Represented an animal–housing business before the Utah Court of Appeals in a case involving an alleged attack by dog
Represented numerous law enforcement officers and Utah municipalities in civil rights appeals involving alleged excessive force, wrongful detention, and substantive and procedural due process claims arising under state and federal law
Represented medical professionals in connection with appeals from administrative denials of licensure by Utah Division of Professional Licensing
 

CURRENT ADMISSIONS
Colorado (2004), Utah (2006), United States District Courts for the Districts of Utah and Colorado, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court
 

RECOGNITIONS
“AV – Preeminent” Peer Review Rating from Martindale–Hubbell
Elected Best Lawyer in America, 2016-2017, in the specialty of commercial litigation
“Rising Star,” Super Lawyers Magazine / Thomson Reuters, 2010–2016
“Up and Coming,” 2010, 2011, 2013–2016, Utah’s Legal Elite, Utah Business Magazine
Named one of Utah’s “Forty Under 40” young professionals in 2017 by Utah Business Magazine
"Civil Litigation" recognition 2017, Utah's Legal Elite, Utah Business Magazine


EDUCATION
University of Denver Sturm College of Law, J.D., 2004
Staff Editor, University of Denver International Law Journal 2002–2003
Member, ABA Traveling Trial Team 2002–2003
American Jurisprudence Award, Advanced Civil Procedure 2003
Metropolitan State University of Denver, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 1999
Honors: Psi Chi, National Honor Society in Psychology, President’s Award
 

SELECTED LECTURES and PUBLICATIONS
Presenter, “Accuracy and Clarity Promote Readability,” A Short Legal Writing Course for Lawyers, Utah State Bar, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 10, 2016
Presenter, “Case Law Update: Recent Supreme Court and Tenth Circuit Cases Interpreting the Qualified Immunity Defense to Civil Rights Claims,” Utah Municipal Attorneys Association Spring Conference, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2015
Presenter, “Unauthorized Practice of Law in Utah and Beyond,” Utah Paralegal Association Conference, Utah Law & Justice Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 20, 2014
Panel Moderator, Civility and Professionalism in the Courtroom, Utah Young Lawyers Division Leadership Conference, Waldorf Astoria, Park City, Utah, November 8, 2013
Author, "Young Lawyers – Be on the Lookout for the Unauthorized Practice of Law," The Whisper, DRI Young Lawyers Committee Newsletter, Vol. 9:10, October 2013
Author, ALFA International Transportation Compendium, Utah Update, 2012
Presenter, "What Local Government Lawyers Need to Know About Identifying and Defining Their Client: An Ethical and Practical Approach," Fall Conference, Utah Municipal Attorneys Association, September 2012
Presenter, "Civil Court Boot Camp," National Business Institute, 2011
Author, “United States Supreme Court to Determine Whether Public Law School's Nondiscrimination Policy Violates First Amendment: Christian Legal Society v. Martinez,” The Voice, Defense Research Institute E–Newsletter, Vol. 9:20, 2010
Author, “The Importance of Pro Bono Legal Services: Why Young Lawyers Should Seek Out Rewarding Pro Bono Opportunities,” The Whisper, DRI Young Lawyers Committee Newsletter, Vol. 1:12, 2009
Author, “The United States Supreme Court Takes a Closer Look at Qualified Immunity:  Pearson v. Callahan and its Implications for Constitutional Tort Defense,” The Whisper, DRI Young Lawyers Committee Newsletter, Vol. 1:4, 2009
Author, “Vicarious Liability of Motor Carrier Employers for Punitive Damages Imposed as a Result of Employee Drivers' Conduct: The Restatement's Complicity Approach," ALFA International Transportation Update, Vol. 2008:4, 2008
Co–author, Petition for Writ of Certiorari to United States Supreme Court, Pearson v. Callahan, 2007 WL 4300857, cert. granted March 24, 2008, 128 S.Ct. 1702
 

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Admitted to practice in all Utah and Colorado state and federal courts, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court
American Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
          Appellate Advocacy Committee (2008–present)
                    Co–chair of marketing and membership subcommittees (2015–present)
          Young Lawyers Committee (2008 – present)
                     Co–Chair of marketing Subcommittee (2014–2015)
                     Co–Vice Chair of marketing subcommittee (2013–2014)
                     Co–Chair of membership Subcommittee (2012–2013)
                     Vice–Chair of membership Subcommittee (2011–2012)
Utah State Bar
            Appellate Practice Section (2006–present)
                       Section Chair (2016–2017)
            Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (2010–2015)
                       Committee Co–Chair (2012–2015)
                       Chair, Public Relations Subcommittee (2011–2012)
            Young Lawyers Division (2006–present)
                       Executive Council Member and Co–Chair (2010–2013)
                       Serving Our Seniors Committee (2011–2013)
                       Wills for Heroes Committee (2008–2011)
            Co–Chair of 2009 Utah State Bar Summer Convention in Sun Valley, Idaho
 
Law Related Education
            Panel Judge, High School Mock Trial Competition, 2008, 2009, 2011–2014

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