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Sitzer/Burnett Defendants Preparing for Appeal

The defendants in the landmark Sitzer/Burnett lawsuit are gearing up for a long legal battle after the guilty verdict. They have added top legal experts to their teams, ready to appeal the decision.

Keller Williams Enlists Paul Clement

Keller Williams has tapped Paul Clement to be part of the franchisor’s appeal team, according to Inman. Clement served as U.S. Solicitor General, the fourth-highest post in the Department of Justice, from 2005 to 2008. He is an appellate attorney in private practice who has argued over 100 cases before the Supreme Court.

National Association of Realtors Hires Gregory Garre

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has also brought in a former U.S. Solicitor General with experience working under Clement. NAR tapped Gregory Garre for its legal team. Garre succeeded Clement as Solicitor General and has argued dozens of cases before the Supreme Court. He is currently defending Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy settlement.

Other Defendants Add Appellate Lawyers

Other defendants are also adding appellate lawyers to their ranks, including some with proposed settlements that have yet to be approved.

Legal Bulk-Up Follows Guilty Verdict

The legal bulk-up comes after a Kansas City jury found NAR, Keller Williams, and HomeServices of America guilty of colluding to inflate broker commissions, elevating costs for home sellers, and violating antitrust laws. The verdict carried a $1.8 billion judgment for the plaintiffs, which can be trebled in the judge’s final decision to $5.4 billion.

Beyond agent commission structures, the ruling could help accelerate the demise of exclusive listings and MLS systems. The world of residential brokerage is still grappling with the ramifications of the first verdict of its kind.

Defendants’ Legal Moves

The defendants have already made legal moves in response to the Sitzer/Burnett verdict. The district court granted a motion this week requesting the court clerk’s recording of the jury verdict be vacated, which allows the sides to request and comment on the verdict. It also gives the plaintiffs the formal chance to ask for damages to be trebled.

The defendants’ post-trial motions are due to the court on January 8. A district court judgment will not come until 30 days after post-trial motions are resolved; oppositions to the defendants’ motions are due February 26, while further replies are due March 18.

Orginal article: Link To Article – provided by Kansas City Realtors