New State-Level Commission Lawsuits Target Smaller Brokerages
As larger, national lawsuits involving REALTOR® associations and big brokerages continue to move through the courts, attorneys in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Georgia have filed similar claims in their regions. These new lawsuits allege that REALTOR® associations are conspiring with brokerages to inflate commissions and focus on smaller, local real estate companies. The Burnett case, which resulted in a $1.8 billion award to recent home sellers, set the precedent for these state-level lawsuits.
Details of the State-Level Lawsuits
The Pennsylvania and Georgia cases were filed in federal court, while the Florida case was filed in a state superior court. All three lawsuits target smaller, local real estate companies, as well as one MLS and several big corporate brokerages. These new lawsuits offer very little in terms of new accusations or information but do target much smaller brokerages than the Burnett case and other national lawsuits.
In the Pennsylvania lawsuit, Realty ONE Horizon, which lists only about 130 agents on its website, is named as a defendant. The suit cites the Burnett verdict as a “historic” judgment and proof that the rules and conduct in question violate federal antitrust laws. This lawsuit also names an MLS as a defendant, meaning that a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs could result in direct monetary damages against West Penn MLS or court orders disallowing certain practices or rules.
Georgia and Florida Lawsuits
The Georgia and Florida lawsuits both mirror the Burnett case in using MLSs to argue for the existence of a conspiracy, without naming them as defendants. The Georgia suit specifically refers to 12 separate MLSs, while the Florida suit names every single local association and MLS affiliated with Florida REALTORS®.
Implications of the State-Level Lawsuits
These state-level lawsuits, while focusing on smaller regions and companies, could have significant implications for the real estate industry. A judgment in favor of the plaintiffs could result in monetary damages and court orders disallowing certain practices or rules. It also raises questions about the legality of the rules and conduct of REALTOR® associations and brokerages in these regions.
It remains to be seen how these state-level lawsuits will progress and what impact they will have on the real estate industry. However, they serve as a reminder of the ongoing legal battles involving REALTOR® associations and brokerages and the potential consequences for smaller, local companies.
For more information on the real estate industry and how to navigate the complexities of buying or selling a home, visit Jessica Fulk’s website and explore the various resources available, such as buying a home and selling a home guides.
Orginal article: Link To Article – provided by Kansas City Realtors