Professional Experience

Kevin has more than 25 years of trial and litigation experience, serving as lead counsel in dozens of jury and bench trials in five states. Public and private companies retain Kevin to represent them in a wide variety of matters, including commercial disputes, contract claims, trade secrets, partnership and joint venture dissolutions, real estate development and construction, mechanics’ liens, maritime liens, business torts and bankruptcy cases. Kevin also represents land owners in eminent domain cases and other property matters. Many of Kevin’s clients are in the transportation, real estate and agriculture industries and Kevin often acts as their outside general counsel to troubleshoot legal issues and to avoid or diffuse potential disputes.

Kevin’s experience and success have earned him designations as a Washington Super Lawyer in each of the past ten consecutive years and he was recently inducted as a Fellow to the Litigation Counsel of America.

Representative Matters
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  • Real Estate, Land Use, and Construction Litigation

    Represented general contractor in lien priority dispute arising out of the construction of a major ski resort in the Pacific Northwest. The case involved more than 80 parties with competing liens. After four years of litigation and a multi-week trial, our client’s lien was determined to be prior to the bank’s mortgage and our client was awarded its full contract amount, interest and attorneys’ fees.

    Steinberg v. Fairbanks Capital Corp., 199 Fed. Appx. 609 (9th Cir. 2006). – Prevailed on behalf of a bankruptcy trustee before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on a complicated title tracing case involving multiple, redundant deeds with conflicting after-acquired property clauses. The court ultimately agreed with our position that the disputed deed, which was identical to a prior deed, was void because the grantee obtained no intervening title to invoke the after-acquired property clause.

    Sovran, LLC v. Mickelsen Dairy, Inc., 2008 WL 3319816 (Wash. App. Div. II). – Represented land owner in a case involving the interplay of an option contract, water rights and development regulations. The opposing party sued to enforce the option, which would have cost our client millions of dollars in water rights, and for consequential damages. We obtained a summary judgment declaring that the opposing party had breached the option terms and that our client was entitled to retain the land, and then obtained dismissal of all damage claims. The judgment was later affirmed on appeal.

    Dragt v. Dragt/DeTray, LLC, 139 Wn. App. 560 (2007) and 170 Wn. App. 1048 (2012). – Extracted land owner from an oppressive development contract and successfully defended against a multi-million dollar damage claim arising from the voided contract. The case went up to the Washington Court of Appeals twice and our client prevailed on both occasions.

    Andrews v. Kim, 2010 WL 5464756 (Wash. App. Div. I). – Defended client’s property rights in an adverse possession and boundary line dispute among condominium owners in a zero lot line development. Our client’s property rights were not disrupted and the trial court’s decision was upheld on appeal.

    Secured the return of property for a retail client. The client’s property was seized through eminent domain for a mass transit project that was later abandoned. The government wanted to sell the seized land for a profit. We negotiated a return of the land and the case was resolved favorably prior to trial.

  • Commercial and Business Litigation

    Sherron Assoc. Loan Fund V, LLC v. Galaxy Gaming, 157 Wn. App. 357 (2010). – Obtained reversal in Washington Court of Appeals on behalf of client pursuing a judgment against a fraudulent gaming company. The client’s LLC had been cancelled and the issue was whether the LLC’s judgment passed, upon cancellation, to its former members as a matter of law. The Court of Appeals ruled that it did and the client went on to collect its judgment against the defendant.

    All Blacks B.V. v. Gruntruck, 199 B.R. 970 (W.D. Wash. 1996). – Represented Seattle rock band in a dispute with its European recording label that captured the interest of the recording industry. The Bankruptcy Court ultimately determined that the band’s onerous contract could be rejected as an executory contract and the U.S. District Court affirmed.

    In re Parker Refrigerated Service, Inc., 173 B.R. 704 (W.D. Wash. 1994). – Defended clients against a bankruptcy trustee’s attempt to collect freight undercharges. The U.S. District Court determined that the Negotiated Rates Act applied to the proceedings, which allowed the claims to be resolved favorably to the clients.

    Defended international logistics company against alleged violations of trade secret laws. The client had contracted with others who, without the client’s knowledge, allegedly had taken trade secrets from their prior employer. Through a series of pre-trial motions, we ultimately demonstrated that the client did not participate in any violative conduct and settled the case in the first week of trial.

    On behalf of Northwest chemical company with a novel water treatment process, prosecuted claims against former employees and competitor for breach of non-compete agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets.

    Obtained defense verdict for sole corporate shareholder in case involving fraudulent transfer and piercing the corporate veil claims. This was a “bet the company” case which we tried to resolve prior to trial. The opposition, however, was unreasonable so we proceeded to trial and won a complete victory.

    Won favorable ruling at trial for client in suit arising out of terminated independent contractor arrangement. At issue was liability for costs and commissions due on hundreds of international bills of lading. The opposition appealed and the favorable ruling was upheld by the Washington Court of Appeals.

    In joint venture dissolution, leveraged forensic accounting report to demonstrate fraud by partners and ultimately preserve the value and secure control of the company for the client.

    Frequently represent clients enforcing mechanics’ and materialmen liens, carrier liens, warehouse liens, preferred ship mortgages and other maritime liens.

Education

  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law
  • B.A., cum laude, Washington State University

Admissions

  • Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Professional Recognition

  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Washington Super Lawyer, Business Litigation (2007 – present)
  • Washington Law & Politics Rising Star (2001)

Professional and Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section)
  • Transportation Lawyers Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
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    Tousley Brain Stephens is one of the best law firms in Seattle. Fast, nimble and relationship focused.

    Aaron Blank - The Fearey Group Contact Us
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    Janissa - I would never talk to any lawyer about anything until I talk to you first. You are just simply AMAZING and not only did you go completely above and beyond to ensure my daughter's trust was safe and secure, but every time I thought I couldn't go on, you constantly assured me that everything would be all right.

    Sophia Cosola Contact Us
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    Rodger and team worked diligently to ensure that our acquisition of Media+ went through as smoothly as possible.  Rodger is a wealth of knowledge and provided the consultation and counsel that we needed in order to move our deal forward and have a successful transition.

    Lauren Portman, Managing Partner - Media+ Contact Us