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Richard E. Rassel, III

  • p. 248.642.0333 ext. 321
  • Email


Richard E. Rassel, III focuses his practice primarily on the areas of business, real estate, and land use litigation as well as business and real estate transactions. He also serves on the firm's board of directors.

Richard’s clients include public and private companies across a wide spectrum of industries such as real estate, engineering, telecom, manufacturing, automotive, insurance, health care, retail, technology, staffing, investment funds and trusts. 

In 2016, Richard assisted in closing three significant M & A deals and recovered nearly $10 million in settlement value for his client resulting from damaged international air cargo.

Richard's successful representation of a 50% owner of a real estate development, resulting in an approximate $5 million dollar settlement on behalf of his client, was cited among the top ten verdicts and settlements in Detroit in 2012. 

Additionally, Richard represents several clients in cases alleging violations of the U.S. Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Fair Housing Act arising from municipal zoning and land use decisions. 

Richard has been certified as a public Arbitrator by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) since 2013. 

Richard is frequently honored by peers and ranking organizations for outstanding accomplishments in his field, including consistently being named as a “Michigan SuperLawyer” by Thomson Reuters annually since 2008. Richard was first named to the publication "Best Lawyers in America" in 2016, and in 2022 he was honored as the Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" for Real Estate Litigation in the Oakland County region.

Professional Affiliations

  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Litigation Section
    • Real Property Section
      • Zoning and Land Use Committee
  • Oakland County Bar Association
    • Trial Section
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
    • Inn of Court
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
        • Public Arbitrator (2013 - present)

Community/Civic Activities

  • Nexlink Communications, LLC
        • Director
  • Brother Rice High School Business Alliance
        • President

Honors & Awards

  • Selected to "Best Lawyers in America©" (2016 - present)
    • 2022 Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" for Real Estate Litigation (Troy)
  • Selected to Michigan “SuperLawyers” (2008 - present)


  • State Bar of Michigan, 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1998


  • Law Clerk to Chief Judge Kurtis T. Wilder of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, 1997-1999
  • Intern to Judge Bernard Friedman of the United States District Court, 1996-1997


Representative Matters

  • Virtually litigated a breach of contract and business tort lawsuit for an international exporter of specialty vehicles, obtaining a final and binding arbitration award mandating the defendant return several million dollars of vehicle equipment and parts, more than $1 million monetary damages, and costs and attorney fees of $350,000 – a total award of just over $5 million.
  • Secured an appellate victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals for a 33-acre independent living residential community for adults with mental illnesses, preserving a Cheboygan County zoning approval that permits the development of the community.
  • Successfully defended fiber and internet service provider against $14M claim brought by the United States involving the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resulting in a favorable settlement of the federal government’s demand for repayment of certain infrastructure improvement grants and loans.
  • Successfully represented a client under the Montreal Convention in recovering nearly $10 million from an airline and a cargo transporter resulting from damage to international air cargo.
  • Successfully represented three corporate clients in 2016 in multi-million dollar merger and acquisition transactions (including one public corporation)
  • Successfully represented a 50% Member of a Michigan Limited Liability Company in a lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and improper related party transactions against another 50% Member resulting in a favorable settlement of $5 million
  • Successfully represented a real estate client in a case that obtained one of the 10 top verdicts and settlements in 2012 (See Crain's Detroit Business, "Big Cases of 2012")
  • Successfully represented several groups of mentally impaired clients in multiple federal lawsuits alleging violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act arising from municipal zoning and land use litigation decisions
  • Successfully represented organizations treating persons with mental illnesses and social addictive disorders in several lawsuits alleging violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act arising from municipal zoning and land use decisions
  • Successfully represented a major area indoor sports complex in contract and fraud litigation over the payment of management fees
  • Successfully represented several large retail, commercial, and single family development owners in multiple litigation matters arising from municipal zoning and land use decisions resulting in consent judgments
  • Successfully represented the plaintiff in an arbitration dispute against Comerica Securities, Inc. before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arising from consequential damages claims suffered as a result of frozen Auction Rate Securities (ARS)
  • Successfully represented a plaintiff franchisee and investor against American Laser Centers in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Michigan Franchise Act, breach of contract and fraud
  • Successfully represented a real estate developer in a specific performance action against a landowner in furtherance of major shopping center development
  • Successfully represented several real estate investment funds and trusts in land acquisition, sale, and management related engagements
  • Successfully served as co-lead interim counsel for a class of indirect purchasers of refrigerant compressors in global anti-trust price-fixing conspiracy litigation
  • Successfully represented various commercial and residential clients before the Michigan Tax Tribunal with respect to ad valorem real estate and personal property tax appeals
  • Successfully represented the plaintiff in an arbitration dispute involving minority oppression, breach of fiduciary duty and self-dealing associated with the management of a real estate investment fund
  • Successfully represented a general contractor in a federal lawsuit and associated private arbitration involving claims of breach of contract against a shopping mall and its owner and defense of claims of RICO, fraud and civil conspiracy violations by those same adverse parties

News & Insights

Articles & Publications

  • Remote Control: Real-World Benefits of Virtual Litigation, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, May 26, 2022
  • "Legislature Opens Door for contract Zoning in Michigan: An Overview" (Discussing Michigan's 2005 conditional rezoning amendment to the various zoning enabling statutes), Michigan Real Property Review, Summer 2005
  • "United States Supreme Court Stands Up For Property Owner In Regulatory Takings Case" (Discussing the Supreme Court's June, 2001 decision in Palazzolo v. Rhode Island), Michigan Real Property Review, Winter 2001
  • "Michigan Civil Trials and Evidence," Contributor (research and drafting)

Practices ›

Education ›


  • Wayne State University, J.D, 1997
  • Marquette University, B.A., History and Political Science Majors, 1993