Rachael R. Wallace - Shareholder, Seattle

Rachael R. Wallace

Shareholder | Seattle


Rachael is a thoughtful and strategic advisor who excels at providing clients with cost-effective solutions to their toughest challenges. Her practice focuses on product liability, aviation law, and employment disputes.

Rachael has broad experience defending product manufacturers in matters stemming from property damage, personal injury, and contract claims. She has represented and litigated claims with auto manufacturers, electrical equipment manufacturers, kitchen appliance and grill manufacturers, lithium battery manufacturers, and component manufacturers. In connection with her product liability practice, Rachael also regularly defends against warranty claims under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, as well as state and federal consumer protection act and unfair business practices claims.

Rachael litigates aviation tort and contract disputes involving the Air Carrier Access Act, the Airline Deregulation Act, the Montreal Convention and its predecessors, the General Aviation Revitalization Act, and the Federal Aviation Regulations. She is skilled at securing dismissals on the basis of federal preemption.

Rachael also negotiates and advises on aviation-specific employment disputes for small air carriers and for pilots and other aviation professionals. In the aviation employment context, she addresses regulatory authority and control questions, Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) issues, terminations from air carriers, operational requirements, and the application of local and state employment law to air carriers.

Outside of litigation, Rachael serves in an employment advisory role to her clients. She regularly assists on wage claims on behalf of employers and employees, with a particular emphasis on claims involving commission plans and payment of commissions, including upon separation. Her employment practice consists of resolving state and federal discrimination claims, as well as assisting clients with addressing improper classifications of employees as independent contractors. Rachael routinely drafts and reviews severance and separation agreements and advises on the enforceability of non-compete clauses for both employers and employees.

Rachael also advises Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance and Washington’s Paid Sick Leave law, including accrual rates, variable rates of pay, exemptions, policy language, permitted uses, notice requirements, and matters involving compliance.

Rachael practices law in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.

Admissions

  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington

Education

  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D., Managing Articles Editor, Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts (2015)
  • Western Washington University, B.A., cum laude (2011)

Recognition & Honors

  • Next Gen in Law, Puget Sound Business Journal (2023)
  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch (2023 - 2024) - Commercial Litigation
  • Rising Star, Washington Super Lawyers (2019 - 2023)
  • Equal Access to Justice Award, National Association of Women Judges (2013)

Experience

Extern to the Hon. Marsha J. Pechman, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Representative Work

Commercial Litigation
  • Defended national company in a class action lawsuit involving Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and consumer protection act claims
  • Defended loan servicing company in lawsuit involving contractual forum selection and receivership issues
  • Represented national law firm in breach of contract lawsuit
  • Defended medical doctor in breach of contract and employment dispute with independent contractor
  • Defended individuals in breach of contract lawsuit involving issues of piercing the corporate veil
  • Represented construction company in breach of contract lawsuit with homeowner
  • Represented software licensing company in breach of contract and trade secret dispute
  • Defended national subrogation company in class action lawsuit involving consumer protection act claims
Aviation
  • Represented commercial airline in breach of contract and consumer protection act lawsuit
  • Defended commercial airline in civil rights lawsuit
  • Defended multiple commercial airlines in lawsuits involving the Montreal Convention
  • Obtained defense verdict at trial for commercial airline in a passenger injury lawsuit
  • Represented commercial foreign airline in product liability dispute with manufacturer involving damaged aircraft
  • Regularly represents commercial airlines in premises liability and passenger boarding/deplaning lawsuits
  • Defended commercial airline in passenger injury and tort lawsuit involving baggage cart
  • Defended commercial airline in lawsuit involving allegations of permanent head and brain injuries
  • Represented commercial airlines in multiple matters involving passenger-on-passenger assault
  • Represented commercial airline in public accommodations lawsuit
  • Represented multiple estates in wrongful death lawsuits involving small and general aviation crash litigation
Employment & Employment Litigation
  • Defended tour guide company in lawsuits brought by the EEOC and Seattle Office of Labor Standards involving allegations of wage theft, notice violations, and discrimination
  • Represented multiple individuals in arbitrations with Washington’s Employment Security Department
  • Defended hotel chain against allegations of discrimination and wage theft
  • Represented federal contractor in severance negotiations and discrimination claims
  • Represented multiple employees in lawsuits or claims involving unpaid commissions
Product Liability
  • Defended aviation product manufacturer in product liability and wrongful death lawsuit
  • Defended national auto manufacturer in multiple product liability lawsuits
  • Represented energy technology manufacturer in multiple matters involving product liability and subrogation
  • Represented kitchen appliance manufacturer in a product liability lawsuit involving fire and property damage

Professional & Community Activities

  • National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms, Product Liability Committee Co-Chair (2023)
  • National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms, Product Liability Member (2021 - Present)
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • King County Bar Association
  • KCBA Aviation Section, President (2016 - 2018)
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Northwest Aviation Insurance Association, Vice President
  • International Aviation Womens Association

Publications & Presentations

  • "Washington's Definition of "Sales Representative" in Commission Law Provides Limited Protection for Employers," author, StokesLaw Briefs (May 2023)
  • "Tactics to Limit Risk in Aviation," presenter, Aviation Law class, Central Washington University (November 1, 2022)
  • "Recent Ninth Circuit Memorandum Decision Underscores Importance of Pleading Conditions of Liability for Claims Subject to the Montreal Convention," author, StokesLaw Briefs (August 2022)
  • "Second Circuit's Recent Opinion Delivers Reminder on the Montreal Convention's Strict Statute of Limitation," author, StokesLaw Briefs (August 2022)
  • "Tactics to Limit Risk in Aviation," presenter, Aviation Law class, Central Washington University (May 10, 2022)
  • "The Floodgates Open: Product Liability Jurisdiction After Ford v. Montana," panelist, NAMWOLF Driving Diversity and Leadership Conference, San Antonio, TX (March 2022)
  • "Insurance, Exculpatory Contracts, and Business Structures as Risk Management Tools in Aviation," presenter, Aviation Law class, Central Washington University (February 2022)
  • "Managing Risk and Limiting Exposure in Aviation Accidents," presenter, Aviation Law, Central Washington University (May 2021)
  • "Managing Risk and Limiting Exposure in Aviation Accidents," presenter, Aviation Law, Central Washington University (February 2021)
  • "Legal Concerns Facing Employers," presenter, "After A Pandemic: How Employers Can Prepare for a Post COVID-19 Workplace" webinar presented by the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition (June 2020)
  • "New Washington State Law on Commissions Goes Into Effect June 11," author, blog post, StokesLaw Briefs (June 2020)
  • "Managing Risk and Limiting Exposure in Aviation Accidents," presenter, Aviation Law, Central Washington University (May 2020)
  • "Legislation: The 'Drone Federalism Act of 2017' and the 'Drone Innovation Act of 2017,' "co-author, ABA International Transportation News (Summer 2017)
  • "Montreal Convention: Article 17 'Accidents,' " presenter, 45th Annual Pacific NW Aviation Law & Insurance Seminar
  • "Navigating Difficult Jurisdictions," presenter, 44th Annual Pacific NW Aviation Law & Insurance Seminar
  • "Fuel Tax Law Creates Big Leak In Aviation Trust Fund," author, Law360 (August 2016)
  • "Parable Of A Patent Troll And Its Prodigal Software Patent," author, Law360 (December 2016)
  • "Framing the Issue: Avoiding a Substantial Similarity Finding in Reproduced Visual Art," author, Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts (Fall 2014)