Tony is a trial lawyer. In his over 30 years of practice, Tony has successfully handled cases involving contracts, real property, condominium and construction defect claims, intellectual property, business torts, partnership disputes, employment, wrongful death and consumer fraud. He is a tenacious lawyer who always puts his full effort into achieving his client's objectives. Tony is the Managing Partner of Rafel Law Group.
Breach of Contract
- Tidewater Cove Condo Ass'n v. Tidewater Cove, LLC: Prosecuted and successfully resolved construction defect claims against developer and 25 subcontractors; total settlement value over $11 million
- Overlook at Juanita Bay v. Cascade-Juanita LLC: Prosecuted claims for severe water intrusion due to construction defects, and claims for insurance bad faith; won $5.9 million from developer, general contractor, subcontractors and their insurers in 3 separate suits
- Heatherwood Owners' Association v. Heatherwood LLC: Represented condominium association in construction defect action against developer and subsequent action against AIG for failure to provide insurance coverage; $8.1 million settlement found reasonable by court
- Fountain Court Homeowners Association v. Matrix Development Corporation: After suing for construction defect claims, obtained $1 million settlement with bankrupt developer that was approved by the bankruptcy court and funded by the developer's insurance company; proceeded to trial against 3 major subcontractors; won $2.1 million jury verdict
- Heritage Place HOA v. Heritage Place LLC: Prosecuted claims for defective windows and roof against prominent local developer; confidential settlement reached
- Sundance HOA v. Village Homes: Represented 153-unit condominium owners' association in construction defect action; $8.6 million settlement
- Sierra HOA v. Murray Franklyn: Represented 98-unit condominium owners' association in construction defect action; $9.0 million settlement
- Sjonadal HOA v. TRA Associates: Represented 8-unit condominium owners' association in construction defect claim; $800,000 settlement and recovery in case with no insurance coverage
- Fujisada HOA v. Fujisada LLC: Represented 28-unit condominium owners' association to recover cost to repair construction defects; $4.7 million settlement
- Montere Condominiums: $4.67 million settlement following litigation with 22 parties
- Fisheye v. Techsonic: Represented plaintiff seller of underwater camera product line in month-long jury trial against corporate buyer for breach of contractual promise to promote camera line and resulting loss of earn-out income; won plaintiff's verdict for 95% of amount demanded plus full award of attorney's fees and costs
- Stan's Headers v. Tube Works: Represented plaintiff purchaser of defective industrial machine; won jury verdict for total price paid plus lost profits plus fees and expenses
- Café Aroma v. Acorto: Defended manufacturer in action by distributor alleging wrongful termination of distributorship agreement; plaintiff sought $900,000, received only $5,000 and no fees or costs
- Oewel v. Super Valu: Represented commercial property developer in month-long jury trial against anchor tenant of shopping center for interference with development plans; won $1.9 million jury verdict plus attorney's fees and costs
- Clear Channel v. Schrem: Successfully opposed claims by billboard owner/operator for alleged wrongful removal of billboards; obtained complete dismissal of claims and award of attorney fees and costs incurred in the trial court, court of appeals and supreme court
- Yorokopi v. RP Bellevue: Represented tenant in commercial lease dispute and unlawful detainer action; negotiated settlement with landlord that allowed client to retain premises
- Microsoft v. Vantage: Suit for declaratory judgment of 'no breach' of software licensing agreement; obtained summary judgment and full award of attorney's fees
- Limelight Productions v. UCO: Suit for trade dress infringement; won early injunction
- Twin Commander v. EFC: Defended suit for misappropriation of trade secrets
- Oregon Glass v. Cardinal: Suit for breach of noncompetition provision in agreement to sell patent rights to insulated glass units; won plaintiff award for damages and injunction, and for fees and costs, following 5-day trial before panel of 3 arbitrators
Employment, Consumer Fraud and Business Torts
- Defoor v. Defoor: Trial counsel for plaintiff in action to establish existence of meretricious relationship and for distribution of property incident to dissolution of the relationship; won five million dollar award of damages and real property following 5-week bench trial
- Oliphant v. Osborne: Represented originating partner in complex real estate venture against co-partners for theft of opportunity and breach of fiduciary duty; confidential settlement
- Hydaburg Fisheries v. HCA: Represented joint venture partner in Alaska action against tribal corporation co-partner for breach of joint venture agreement; won $230,000 judgment; successfully defended multiple appeals to Alaska Supreme Court asserting tribal immunity; collected judgment in full
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury
- Luna v. Household Finance: Co-lead counsel for class of Washington borrowers claiming damages arising out of predatory mortgage lending practices; $15 million settlement
- Beninger v. Safeco: Counsel for plaintiff in wrongful termination of employment action; jury verdict for plaintiff
- Buscemi v. UPS: Counsel in class action by NJ package delivery drivers against United Parcel Service for unpaid overtime; confidential settlement
- Agnello v. Bethlehem Steel: Represented 100 salaried employees in federal court ERISA action challenging reduction of retirement benefits following sale of steel plant; confidential settlement
- Boyd Enterprises v. General Disposal: Represented minority business enterprise garbage subcontractor in unfair business practices suit against prime contractor; won large jury verdict plus reimbursement of all attorney's fees and costs
- Tyson v. Stout: Represented plaintiff anesthesiologist in month-long jury trial for defamation and career interference by another physician; won $1.2 million verdict
- Ahlburg v. Frank-Lin Distillers: Defended out-of-state liquor distributor in federal court action asserting wrongful termination of business relationship with a local businessman; won directed verdict dismissing 5 of the 7 claims; at trial against $800,000 damage claim, jury returned defense verdict on 1st claim and plaintiff verdict for $36,500 on 2nd claim; obtained reversal of verdict on appeal, resulting in complete defense victory and award of costs
- Seraile v. Group Health: Represented mother of deceased patient in wrongful death medical malpractice action; confidential settlement
- Bingerman v. E&E Rubber Products: Represented injured plaintiff in state court products liability suit against manufacturer and distributor of rubber tension ties; confidential settlement
- Antoine v. Alcon Laboratories: Represented plaintiff with latent injury products liability claim in multidistrict litigation; confidential settlement
- Shepard v. Fredrickson: Represented plaintiff in delayed diagnosis medical malpractice action; confidential settlement
- Miles v. Shanghai Zhenhua: Represented children of deceased longshoreman in wrongful-death action arising from defective crane; confidential settlement
After graduating from law school, Tony clerked for United States District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein in Seattle, then joined the law firm of Culp Dwyer Guterson & Grader, where he became a partner and practiced until that firm dissolved in 1995. Tony became Of Counsel and a principal in the firm of Rohan Goldfarb Rafel & Shapiro, P.S. until joining Riddell Williams, a 60-lawyer firm, in 2000, where he was twice elected by his peers as Chair of the Litigation Department and founded the Condominium Owners' Rights Enforcement (CORE) Group. In October 2005, Tony formed Rafel Law Group PLLC.
Tony also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Image Technology Corporation and its subsidiary, BriefServe.com, Inc., from June 2000 to January 2003. The business of those companies was to digitize briefs and other court records from the United States Supreme Court, the federal appeals courts, and various state courts. Tony negotiated the sale of BriefServe to West Group, the largest legal publisher in the world.
Admitted to Practice
- J.D., cum laude, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University
- Managing Editor, Cardozo Law Review
- Samuel Belkin Scholar
- B.A., University of Rochester
- New York
- New Jersey
- Past Co-Chair (2012) and Current Member, Washington State Community Associations Institute (WSCAI) Business Partners Committee
- Past President of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington (1999); and former Vice-President, Trustee, and Chair of Local Rules, Website/Communications and Nominations Committees
- Member, Community Associations Institute (CAI) Washington and Oregon chapters
- Affiliate Member, Oregon and Washington Community Association Managers (OWCAM)
- Member, Washington CAI Education Committee
- Lawyer Representative (court appointed) to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (1998-2001)
- Bar Examiner for the Washington State Bar Association Committee of Law Examiners (1993-1998); member, Attorneys Professional Insurance Committee (1989-1990); and member, Opportunities for Minorities in the Legal Profession Committee (1987)
- Member (court-appointed) of the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (2000-2004)
- Arbitrator, King County Superior Court Arbitration Program (1990-present)
- Member, Washington State and Oregon State Bars, American Bar Association, King County Bar Association, Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington
- Licensed Commercial Pilot
Tony is a regular presenter at Community Associations Institute (CAI) programs in Washington and Oregon, has authored materials on Federal Court practice and procedure for numerous continuing legal education seminars, and has been a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)'s annual trial practice seminar. Recent presentations and publications include the following:
- Panelist for MC Consultants Inc. 4th Annual Pacific Northwest Construction Defect Seminar (March 2013)
- Panelist for MC Consultants Inc. 17th & 18th Annual Construction Defect & Insurance Coverage Conference (2011 & 2012).
- Presented "Navigating Management Changes in Community Associations" at ORCAI Monthly Member's Luncheon (July 2011).
- Co-presented "Advanced Tools for Managers- Unlocking Powerful Secrets of the Nonprofit Corporation Act" at WSCAI Manager's Only Day (June 2011).
- Presented "Common Board Member Mistakes" at WSCAI Law Day (April 2011).
- Co-presented "Allocating Responsibility for the Cost to Repair Damage to Units and Common Elements: Who's Responsible When the Pipe Bursts" at WSCAI Law Day and Manager's Only Meeting (May 2010).
- Presented "Pandora's Box: Who's Responsible When the Pipe Bursts" at WSCAI CA Day (October 2009).
- Provided "Legal Update" on Oregon and Washington law at the Annual Meeting of Oregon-Washington Community Association Managers (OWCAM) (June 2009).
- Presented on Fiduciary Duties of Board Members at a program entitled "Managing Communities in a Difficult Economic Environment" (May 2009).
- Presented on "The Essentials of Community Association Volunteer Leadership" at an Oregon CAI seminar (May 2009).
- Co-presented on "Annual Meetings that Bust Quorum and Snap Volunteers" at a Washington State CAI seminar (January 2009).
- Speaker and panelist at a Seattle seminar entitled "Condominium and Homeowner Associations: Understanding the Issues in Washington" (December 2008).
- Presented on Condominium Construction Defect and Warranty Claims at a continuing legal education program on "Legal Aspects of Condominium and Homeowners' Associations in Washington" (December 2007).
- Presented on "Parking Spaces - What a Tangled Web We Weave" at a WSCAI program (December 2007).
- Co-chair of Mealey's Pacific Northwest Construction Defect Conference (June 2006).
- Recent publications include WASCAI Community Associations Journal - Nov/Dec 2010, "Tying Up Loose Ends: End of the Year Checklist for Self-Managed Communities" read the article; WSCAI Community Associations Journal- Nov/Dec 2009, "Dispute Resolution: The Many Methods for Getting Along (Legally Speaking) (with Cynthia Jones) read the article; The Association Advisor - March 2009, "55+ Communities and the Fair Housing Act" (with David Martin) read the article; The Association Advisor - Oct 2008, "The Ethics of Client Service" read the article; and WSCAI Community Associations Journal - Sept/Oct 2008, "Reserve Studies in Washington - The New Standard" (with Cynthia Jones) read the article.