ABOUT AUTHOR MICHAEL WITHEY
Michael Withey is a Seattle-based public interest lawyer who has made a career representing the “little guy” against powerful interests to protect constitutional rights, civil rights, and human rights for the past 42 years. He was a very close friend of the slain men, and dropped out of law practice for 2 and ½ years to pursue justice in their case, while wearing a bullet proof vest recommended by the police.
Michael has taken on Ferdinand Marcos, Boeing, Exxon, General Motors, the Seattle Police Department (SPD), and a host of other powerful opponents who harmed people that the perpetrators’ thought couldn’t fight back. He is the former president of the Public Justice Foundation and received numerous prestigious awards. But his most important accomplishment yet has been his successful trial of Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator of the Philippines, for his involvement in the murder of two Filipino-American activists, Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes.
Michael and his Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes legal team celebrated an unprecedented victory in his case against the Marcos regime, winning a $15.1 million federal court jury verdict and then negotiating a $3 million settlement on behalf of the Estates of Domingo and Viernes. Former King County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Fox said that Withey “is one of the lawyers who is not afraid of getting into a long, difficult battle with powerful adversaries, whoever they might be” and later wrote, “Michael Withey, the attorney who led the investigation and successful prosecution of this amazing case, is the one person in the world best situated to tell this story.”
Michael is writing The Domingo and Viernes Story in an effort to continue the justice efforts and ensure that all parties responsible for the deaths of these two activists are known, including US intelligence agencies. As famed Seattle Civil Rights Attorney Lembhard Howell said of Michael: “Let me tell you something about Mike Withey: He doesn’t color between the lines!”
What moves Michael to write this book is the inspiration he draws from Silme Domingo when, with four .45 caliber bullet holes puncturing his chest, he chased the hit men out of the union hall. Bleeding profusely, he then he hailed down a fireman and gave him the names of the hit men. By writing this book, he honors his friend Silme’s dying wish: “Don’t let them get away with this!” He has dedicated his life to this quest for justice.
- Pursuit of Justice Award, American Bar Association (2011)
- Champion of Justice Award, Public Justice Foundation (2006)
- Volunteer of the Year Award, American Lung Association (2002)
- Finalist, Trial Lawyer of the Year, Public Justice Foundation (1991)
- Trial Lawyer of the Year, Washington State Association for Justice (1991)
Notable Court Victories
- $200 million settlement with the Behr Process Corporation for a national consumer protection class action for a defective stain product that ruined people’s cedar siding.
- Represented the Lummi Indian Nation and Swinomish Tribal Community in separate cases of ancestral grave desecrations and recovered of $6 million.
- Multiple million dollar settlements against General Motors, Ford and Hyundai for defective automotive products.
- Represented Robert Strom and hundreds of its engineers against the Boeing Company for using them as human research subjects to determine the biological effects of Electromagnetic Pulse Radiation. He was interviewed by Mike Wallace on Sixty Minutes about this case;
- $1 million settlement on behalf of anti-WTO protesters from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) following a federal court jury verdict finding the SPD violated their constitutional rights during the 1999 protests in Seattle;
- $1.75 million for the parents of a young man fatally beaten in a crowd during the 2001 Mardi Gras riots in Pioneer Square while SPD officers looked on;
- $1.7 million for a shipscaler who contracted severe asbestosis while working on ships;
- $1.3 million for a former Husky football player who had been shot by an attorney;
- $1.15 million for the estate of a longshoreman who was killed by a top loader on the Seattle waterfront;
- $750,000 for the widow of a Seattle firefighter killed in the Blackstock Lumber Co. fire in 1989;
- A confidential settlement for an American Airlines flight attendant exposed to toxic contamination aboard a flight.
Author, The Domingo and Viernes Story