Christensen & Jensen Attorneys

Karra J. Porter

Contact:
karra.porter@chrisjen.com
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15 West South Temple, Suite 800,
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

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Karra Porter has been President or Managing Director of Christensen & Jensen for 19 years. She is co-chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Crisis Management practice groups, and is one of the most experienced and successful commercial and appellate lawyers in Utah. She has consistently been recognized by Super Lawyers/Thomsen Reuters as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the intermountain west (Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming), and as one of the nation’s best attorneys for corporate and commercial matters. Karra has also been consistently named one of Utah’s “Legal Elite” by Utah Business Magazine.

After working as a journalist in her home state of Kansas, Karra went to law school at the University of Texas at Austin, graduating near the top of her class in 1987. Karra’s specialty is complex federal litigation. She has recently handled large cases involving the Federal Trade Commission Act, Lanham Act, Internal Revenue Code, Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, False Claims Act, Small Business Act, National Labor Relations Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and other federal and state statutes.

Karra is regularly hired by other lawyers and law firms to handle complex matters and appeals, and regularly advises or represents clients in media relations and crisis management matters.

 


AREAS OF PRACTICE

Commercial and Business Litigation: Represents corporations and individuals in contract disputes, trade secret and unfair competition claims, trademark and intellectual property litigation, statutory claims, franchise disputes, and numerous other commercial disputes.  Representative matters include:

  • Lead counsel in largest litigated FTC enforcement action in the country ($270 million)
  • Represented whistleblower in $1 million case involving § 8(a) of the Small Business Act
  • Defended non-profit organizations against $1.2 million claim before Board of Oil, Gas & Mining
  • Retained by lawyers and law firms in claims involving real estate deeds of trust, fraudulent transfer, estate tax penalties, contract disputes, insurance bad faith, etc.
  • Defended international sports organization against claims of using proprietary information
  • Won multi-million dollar arbitration award for client in contract dispute
  • Won jury trial on behalf of professional firm in $1.6 million contract dispute
  • Successfully aided large national client in responding to union organization drive

Personal Injury and Insurance Bad Faith: In select cases, Karra represents persons who have been harmed by the wrongful conduct of a third party.  Karra has represented heirs in wrongful death claims, whistleblowers in False Claims Act (qui tam) actions, and persons who have wrongfully been deprived of rights under insurance policies, contracts, statutes, or Constitutional provisions. Representative matters include:

  • Obtained $4 million settlement for insureds in bad faith case
  • Obtained Supreme Court ruling in favor of patient on claim of breach of confidentiality and fiduciary duty against physician
  • Obtained favorable Utah Supreme Court ruling on behalf of insured in disability insurance case
  • Obtained favorable jury verdict in medical malpractice case involving burns from laser procedure, featured by Utah Association of Justice in “Killer Cases and the Lawyers Who Brought them”
  • Obtained $9 million ruling from Utah Supreme Court in Campbell v. State Farm fraud case

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Appeals: Karra is one of the most experienced and successful appellate lawyers in Utah, having been lead or co-lead counsel in more than 120 appeals before the Utah Supreme Court, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Utah Court of Appeals, United States Supreme Court, and in Arizona, California, Idaho, New York, Ohio, and Wyoming appellate courts. Karra is regularly asked by the Utah Supreme Court to argue cases at a university or law school as a teaching experience for students. She is known as a quick study in virtually any area of law, and has prosecuted appeals in a wide range of areas. Representative matters from just the past few years include:

  • MacGregor v. Walker, 2014 UT 2, --- P.3d --- (Utah Supreme Court – defended Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints against claim that creation of helpline created other affirmative duties)
  • Velasquez v. Harman-Mont & Theda, Inc. 2014 UT App 6, 318 P.3d 1188 (Utah Court of Appeals – represented appellees in upholding trial court denial of defendants’ assertion of affirmative defense in wrongful death case)
  • Jenkins v. Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, 2013 UT 59, 321 P.3d 1049 (Utah Supreme Court – represented water conservancy district in reversing Utah Court of Appeals ruling regarding level of expert testimony required to sustain claim against governmental entity)
  • Federal Trade Commission v. IWorks, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6556 (9th Circuit Court of Appeals – represented “relief defendant” in FTC enforcement action determining scope of notice required to bind non-parties to preliminary injunction)
  • Riggs v. Asbestos Corp. Ltd., 2013 UT App 86, 304 P.2d 61 (Utah Court of Appeals – applicability of comparative fault defense in long-latency asbestos cases)
  • U.S. ex rel. Wickliffe v. EMC Corp., 2012 WL 1111242 (10th Cir. 2012) (scope of United States’ authority to dismiss whistleblower claim under False Claims Act)
  • Berrett v. Albertson’s, Inc., 2012 UT App 371, 293 P.3d 1108 (applicability of peculiar hazard doctrine)
  • MPDS Memphis v. State Farm Automobile Insurance, No. 11-4416 (6th Cir. 2013) (sufficiency of evidence in contract claim against insurer)
  • In re Executive Life Insurance of New York, 2012-05969 (N.Y.A.D. 2013) (scope of immunity of statutory receiver)
  • Arnold v. Grigsby, 2012 UT 61, 289 P.3d 449 (commencement of statute of limitations under “discovery rule” in medical malpractice claims)
  • Westgate Resorts, Ltd. V. Consumer Protection Group, LLC, 2012 UT 55, 285 P.3d 1219 (constitutionality of punitive damage award)
  • Westgate Resorts, Ltd. V. Consumer Protection Group, LLC, 2012 UT 56, 289 P.3d 420 (scope of disclosure requirement for neutral arbitrator)
  • Miller v. Utah Dept. of Transportation, 2012 UT 54, 285 P.3d 1208 (appropriateness of explanatory jury instruction when evidentiary material is barred from production by federal statute)
  • Jones v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 2012 UT 52, 286 P.3d 301 (scope of “fairly debatable defense” in insurance bad faith cases)
  • Wilson v. IHC Hospitals, Inc., 2012 UT 43, 289 P.3d 369 (appropriateness of new trial for misconduct of opposing trial counsel)
  • Gonzales v. Russell Sorensen Const., 2012 UT App 154, 279 P.3d 422 (cognizability of claim in Utah under Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 384)
  • U.S. Fidelity v. U.S. Sports Specialty, 2012 UT 3, 270 P.3d 464 (determination of when insurance company may seek reimbursement from insured for defense costs)
  • Federal Trade Commission v. iWorks, et al., 13-15778 (jurisdictional requirements for subjecting non-party to preliminary injunction ), Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, argument pending
  • Boyle v. Christensen, 2011 UT 20, 251 P.3d 810 (representing pedestrian struck by pickup truck; ended the defense tactic of mentioning “the McDonald’s coffee case” to juries)
  • Blakely v. USAA Casualty Ins. Co., 633 F.3d 944 (10th Cir. 2011) (representing insured in post-fire claims against insurance company)
  • Stone Flood v. Safeco Insurance, 2011 UT 83, ___ P.3d ____ (representing business in post-fire claim for business interruption losses)

Crisis Management: Karra represents businesses and individuals in sensitive and emergent situations, including media relations, interaction with governmental agencies, important or emergency court proceedings, and public relations issues.

  • Advised clients with respect to potential white collar criminal charges and negotiated non-prosecution agreements
  • Interacted with local news media and Associated Press to obtain retractions of incorrectly reported information
  • Defended against and obtained TROs and preliminary injunctions involving trade secret, non-competition, and other time-sensitive matters
  • Assisted franchisors and franchisees with surprises unique to franchising world
  • Successfully argued against TRO sought by state legislator in election dispute with state political party
  • Aided foreign government in expedited proceeding to enforce international convention
  • Forced removal of website publishing defamatory information about client

 


EDUCATION

  • University of Texas at Austin, J.D., 1987
  • Kansas State University, B.A. in journalism, summa cum laude, 1985

 


SELECT LECTURES AND PUBLICATIONS

  • Speaker, “Proportionality: Avoid Pleading Yourself Out of Discovery” and “Questions About the New Rules,” Combating Hardball Tactics X, Utah Association for Justice, 2012
  • Speaker, “Best Practices in the Use of System Advertising and Marketing Funds,” Utah State Bar Franchise Law Section, 2011
  • Speaker, “Preserving Bad Faith Claims,” Personal Injury Law: Beyond the Basics, Utah State Bar and Utah Association for Justice, 2011
  • Speaker, “Lessons Learned Post-Decision: Insights from Appellate Counsel,” Utah State Bar Young Lawyers and Paralegal Divisions, 2011
  • Speaker, “Effective Appellate Advocacy,” University of Utah School of Law, 2009 Speaker, “Hardball Litigation Tactics VII," Utah Association for Justice, 2008
  • Speaker, “Killer Cases and the Lawyers Who Brought them,” Utah Association for Justice, 2005 and 2008
  • Speaker, “Hot Bad Faith Cases 2005,” Utah Association for Justice, 2005
  • Speaker, “Machan v. Unum: The Most Important Recent Insurance Case,” Utah Trial Lawyers Association, 2005
  • Moderator: “Understanding the Legal Aspects of Professional Basketball,” Utah Jazz and Utah Starzz, 2001
  • Moderator: “Reporters and Lawyers: Can’t We All Just Get Along?” Utah Defense Lawyers Association, 2001

 


PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS & ADMISSIONS

  • Admitted to practice in all Utah state and federal courts, United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States Supreme Court
  • Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee, 2010 – present
  • Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure, 1995-2008
  • Utah Defense Lawyers Association, President-elect, 2001-02; Vice President 2000-01
  • Third District Court Small Claims Court Judge Pro Tem, 1992-1997
  • Editorial Board, Voir Dire Magazine, 1997-99

 


PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Christensen & Jensen, P.C., 1987 to present

  • President, 2010 - present
  • Managing Director, 1998 to 2006
  • Vice President, 1995 to 2009
  • Shareholder and Director, 1993 to present
  • Associate Attorney, 1987 to 1993
  • Nominated for Third District Court judgeship (February 2004; August 2004)