Anthony L. Rafel
See Tony’s entire interview with ReelLawyers
A seasoned trial lawyer and trusted advisor, Tony is the Managing Partner of Rafel Law Group. In over 35 years of successful practice, his case work has spanned a wide range of issues, including construction defect claims, product liability, commercial real estate litigation, insurance coverage for policyholders, contract enforcement, intellectual property, business torts, partnership disputes, and more. He is a tenacious lawyer deeply dedicated to achieving his client’s objectives. In his advising work, Tony brings decades of experience counseling and representing condominium and homeowner associations on association governance, governing document amendments, covenant and rule enforcement, dispute resolution, damage loss adjustments, and many other issues. Tony is a Fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers and in the Litigation Counsel of America.
- 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
- Hunters Ridge Condominiums (Sherwood, OR): Successfully prosecuted claims for construction defects involving different contractors on each building, achieved fully funded multiple-party settlement. Separately won coverage action against insurance company for sider in Oregon Court of Appeals (285 Or App 416).
- Fountain Court Homeowners Association v. Matrix Development Corporation: Obtained policy limits settlement with insurer for bankrupt developer that was approved by the bankruptcy court; proceeded to trial against 3 subcontractors and won $2.1 million jury verdict. Prevailed on separate claims against insurer for primary subcontractor in both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Oregon (360 Or 341).
- Sundance HOA v. Village Homes: Won $8.6 million settlement for 153-unit condominium owners’ association in construction defect case
- Sierra HOA v. Murray Franklyn: Won $9 million settlement for 98-unit condominium owners’ association in construction defect action
- 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: Won $4.7 million in settlements for 28-unit urban condominium owners’ association for cost to repair construction defects
- Montere Condominiums: $4.67 million settlement following litigation with 22 parties
- Allenmore Medical Investors v. City of Tacoma: Won $2 million victory at trial against City of Tacoma for wrongful attempts to prevent and delay development of shopping center; also recovered $1 million attorney fee award.
- 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 state supreme court
- Serenity at Juanita COA v. Klees: Nuisance action against unit owner to shut down prostitution activity in unit after law enforcement failed to act; obtained finding of nuisance and injunction evicting occupants
Breach of Contract
- Fisheye v. Techsonic: Represented 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 recovery of attorney’s fees and costs
- Stan’s Headers v. Tube Works: Represented 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
- Ahlburg v. Frank-Lin Distillers: Defended 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
- 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
- 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
Employment, Consumer Fraud and Business Torts
- Luna v. Household Finance: Co-lead counsel for class of Washington borrowers claiming damages arising out of predatory mortgage lending practices; $15 million court-approved 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
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury
- 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.
- 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
Admitted to Practice
- New York
- New Jersey
- President, Washington State Community Associations Institute (WSCAI) (2020); Director (2017-present), Vice President (2018), President-Elect (2019), Past Chair, Business Partners Committee
- Past President, Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington, and former Chair of Local Rules, Website/Communications and Nominations Committees
- Member, Oregon Chapter of Community Associations Institute (CAI) (ORCAI)
- Affiliate Member, Oregon and Washington Community Association Managers (OWCAM)
- 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 Bar Associations, Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington
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:
- Co-Presented “We’re Staging a Coup!” – How to Manage Homeowner Insurrections in Community Associations, College of Community Association Lawyers Annual Law Seminar (February 2022).
- Quoted in HOA Resources “Face Masks and HOA Common Areas: What Residents Need to Know” (December 2021) read the article
- Panel of Pundits, College of Community Association Lawyers Annual Law Seminar (January 2021)
- Co-presented “The Reach and Limits of Board Power” at WSCAI Community Associations Day (October 2020)
- Presented “Water Loss Between Units: Allocating Responsibility for Uninsured Losses” at WSCAI Law Day (April 2019)
- Co-presented “Fair Housing” at WSCAI Community Associations Day (September 2018)
- Presented “This Meeting Will Come to Order: Meeting Minutes and Parliamentary Procedure” at WSCAI Community Associations Day (September 2017)
- Presented “Governance in the Digital Age: Electronic Notice, Voting, Email & Websites” at WSCAI Community Associations Day (September 2015)
- 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).
- 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 “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 “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 WSCAI 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.
- Fellow, College of Community Association Lawyers
- Member, Amicus Review Committee, College of Community Association Lawyers
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Recipient, 2021 WSCAI Volunteer of the Year Award
- Named one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in Real Estate Law, 2021-2023
- Recipient, 2021 CAI National “Rising Star” Award
- Recipient, 2017 WSCAI President’s Award
- Recipient, 2017 CAI-Oregon Service Provider of the Year Award
- Washington Law & Politics Magazine “Super Lawyer™” 2001-2023
- Named one of “Top Attorneys in Washington” by SeattleMet Magazine (2016-2020)
- Named one of “Top Real Estate Lawyers” by The American Lawyer (2016)
- Named one of the “Top Lawyers in Washington” by Washington CEO Magazine June 2008
- “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell (highest peer review rating for legal skill and ethical standards). To view an explanation of “AV” ratings by Martindale Hubbell, click here
- Named as one of Washington’s “Top 40” Real Estate Lawyers in Washington Law & Politics Magazine, 2007
- Named one of Seattle’s 152 “Top Lawyers” by Seattle Magazine 2005