Christina A. Rankin
Christina's practice includes litigation of insurance bad faith and coverage issues, personal injury defense, wrongful death, products liability, automobile negligence, uninsured and underinsured motorists, premises liability, commercial, employment, and construction law. Christina also provides consulting services for employers. Representative cases which resulted in favorable verdicts are:
Burch v. Wells Fargo Bank (tried to a judge in 2015) -- this was a premises liability action tried to a judge in U.S. District Court for the State of Alaska. Ms. Burch claimed that she suffered significant injuries, including a broken hip, as a result of falling on black ice at the Palmer Branch of Wells Fargo Bank. The court determined that freezing rain started shortly before Ms. Burch arrived at the branch, that no customers prior to Ms. Burch had mentioned the deteriorating conditions, and that no bank employees had taken a break outside the building to observe the change in conditions. The court also rejected plaintiff's theory that the branch manager had a duty to monitor weather predictions and apply ice-melt to dry sidewalks as a preventative measure. Based on these factual conclusions, the court ultimately found the Wells Fargo did not breach its duty of care to Ms. Burch and entered judgment in favor of Wells Fargo.
Bryan v. Morris (tried to a jury in 2011) -- this was a case involving a truck/pedestrian accident that resulted in traumatic head injuries, including permanent facial paralysis and numerous facial fractures requiring eye and jaw surgeries, and where the single liability issue for the jury to determine was legal causation. The defendant driver was operating his pick-up truck at more than twice the legal blood alcohol limit at the time of the accident and therefore admitted that he was negligent as a matter of law. In addition, there was no dispute that the vehicle's rear tire drove over plaintiff's head as he lay on the ground after stumbling backwards and falling off of a smoking deck at a local strip club. Following a two-week trial, the jury agreed with the defense that the unique circumstances surrounding the accident made it impossible for the defendant to have successfully avoided driving over the plaintiff's head, even if the defendant had been sober. Six of the eight eyewitnesses testified that what happened was a freak accident and that the impact of the rear driver's side wheel and plaintiff's head was virtually simultaneous and unavoidable. Two other eyewitnesses claimed that plaintiff had already fallen out into the traffic lane and was laughing at his own folly when defendant's truck came around the corner of the building, hesitated, and then attempted to swerve around plaintiff, only to run over his head with the rear driver's side tire. Gary was lead counsel for the defense, assisted by Christina Rankin. Plaintiff agreed not to file any post-trial motions or appeal in exchange for the defendant's agreement not to seek attorney's fees or costs.
Lunney v. Atwood Industries (tried to a jury in 2007) -- this was a product liability action tried to a jury in Anchorage. Mr. Lunney claimed that he suffered permanently disabling full-thickness burn injuries to both of his lower legs as a result of the defective design of a motor home furnace manufactured by Atwood Industries and installed in a Fleetwood motor home which was being used as part of a Toys For Tots charity drive near Christmas. Mr. Lunney was working as a disc jockey for a radio station promoting the event and sat for long stretches of time with his lower legs in close proximity to the heat vent directly located under the dinette table in the motor home. Due to Mr. Lunney's chronic diabetes, he had long suffered from severe peripheral neuropathy, such that he had no feeling in his lower extremities and was unable to feel the heat emanating from the vent. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Atwood, concluding that the furnace was properly designed and manufactured to meet or exceed all industry standards.
Allstate Insurance Co. v. Herron (tried to a jury in 2008) -- this was an insurance bad faith action tried to a jury in Anchorage federal court. Allstate initiated the action as a declaratory judgment action and had the burden of proof on the critical issue of whether it had, through the actions of its adjuster, acted reasonably in response to a policy limits demand communicated to the adjuster by counsel for two individuals asserting personal injury claims as a consequence of a single vehicle accident in Bethel, Alaska, caused by Allstate's insured. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Allstate, confirming that it had acted reasonably in response to the policy limit demand. Combined with prior admissions by Herron that he had committed a material breach of his contractual obligation to Allstate by entering into a consent judgment and by assigning his claims against Allstate to the two claimants (which breach would only have been excused if Allstate had committed a prior breach of its duty of good faith and fair dealing) and the court's rulings on summary judgment, the jury's verdict served as vindication of Allstate's conduct.
Areas Of Practice
- Insurance Law, declaratory actions and the defense of bath faith claims 30%
- Defense of personal injury/wrongful death claims 30%
- Defense of employment, commercial, professional liability and construction claims 30%
- Other 10%
- Alaska, 2003
- New York, 2004
- U.S. District Court District of Alaska, 2005
- Syracuse University College of Law, Syracuse, New York
- J.D. - 2002
- Honors: cum laude
- Honors: Dean's List
- Honors: Dean's Scholarship
- University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
- Honors: Dean's List
- Major: Political Science
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Defense Counsel of Alaska, Member, 2003 to Present
- Defense Research Institute, Member, 2006 to Present
Past Employment Positions
- Alaska Superior Court, Law Clerk, 2002 to 2003
- Alpha Phi Omega