We believe our clients want three things: first and foremost, astute professional advice; second, responsive and timely performance; and third, good value. We strive to deliver these things, achieve outstanding results and be your Counsel of Choice™.
Rafel Law Group was founded in 2005 by a team of experienced litigators. The team is led by Tony Rafel, a seasoned trial lawyer who has been practicing in the Pacific Northwest since 1981. Before starting Rafel Law Group, our team worked together for five years at a prominent Seattle firm, where Tony chaired both the Litigation Department and the Condominium Owners’ Rights Enforcement Group (CORE). We combine the skills and sophistication of a large law firm with the lean responsiveness of a small, cohesive group. We are “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell – the highest peer review rating for legal ability and ethical standards. (To view an explanation of Martindale-Hubbell peer review ratings, click here.)
Our Clients and Cases
Rafel Law Group focuses exclusively on advising clients and representing them in litigation and assists clients of all sizes – from individuals to small and medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 companies. We have enjoyed exceptional success in handling a broad spectrum of complex litigation. Our distinguishing skill is our ability to handle litigation forcefully, efficiently and with our clients’ objectives firmly in mind. We stand ready, willing and able to try any case that cannot be settled on terms satisfactory to our client.
Notable Recent Cases
- Surowiecki v. Hat Island Community Association: On February 24, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision in Surowiecki v. Hat Island Community Association recognizing that homeowner associations have broad discretion in making financial decisions. In May 2021, CAI’s Amicus Curiae Committee approved and filed an amicus brief authored by Anthony Rafel, Rafel Law Group’s Managing Partner and a fellow in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). The issue on appeal was whether equal per-lot assessments proposed by the Board and ratified by the members were “equitable,” as required by the governing documents, where some lots were developed with homes but Surowiecki’s 270 lots were not. The Supreme Court held that “the association’s decision on assessments is entitled to substantial deference.” In language closely mirroring CAI’s arguments, the Court reasoned that, “when a homeowners’ association makes a discretionary decision in a procedurally valid way, courts will not substitute their judgment for that of the association absent a showing of fraud, dishonesty, or incompetence (i.e., failure to exercise proper care, skill, and diligence).” The court said it adopted this rule “in recognition of the respect due to the self-governance of homeowner associations, the importance of finality in budgeting, and the avoidance of interfering with associations’ ability to meet their financial obligations.” This is a major win for associations in Washington State and may be helpful to associations nationwide in resisting challenges to discretionary decisions.
- 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.
- Grand Ridge HOA (Camas, WA): Defeated suit by 3 homeowners claiming HOA had obligation to cut common area trees to preserve views from their homes; obtained judgment in favor of HOA and award of virtually all attorney fees incurred.
- Bellora Condominium (Seattle, WA): Defeated individual unit owner’s claim of adverse possession of common element deck and won full recovery of association’s attorney fees.
- Fountaincourt v. Legend Homes (Beaverton, OR): Successfully prosecuted claims against developer, general contractor and subcontractors for construction defects; 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).
- 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).