Anywhere Real Estate, which owns and franchises multiple real estate brands and brokerages as well as other services, settled with plaintiffs in two antitrust lawsuits: Moehrl v. National Association of Realtors and Burnett v. NAR. In these cases, home sellers sued Anywhere (formerly Realogy) as a co-conspirator in NAR’s conduct, which focused on buyer’s agent commissions.
“Plaintiffs have reached an agreement with Anywhere to resolve all claims asserted against Anywhere in this lawsuit as part of a proposed nationwide class settlement,” a notice filed with the court on Tuesday read.
Still, while they have reached a preliminary settlement, the court hearing the case must approve it. Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Moehrl lawsuit told Inman, a news source for real estate agents, brokers and executives, and HousingWire that the agreement in both suits, totaling $83.5 million, was negotiated together — a figure that did not appear in the Notice filed with court but not confirmed wealth. Still, the trial will continue, as Anywhere is just one of several defendants named in two lawsuits.
Steve Berman, an attorney for Mohr’s plaintiffs, wrote in a statement shared with the National Association of Realtors and the Big Four: This settlement is an important milestone in the real estate agency case.” wealth. “The monetary settlement is the maximum amount that could be obtained based on Anywhere’s existing financial resources. Crucially, the settlement includes significant changes to Anywhere’s practices related to the conduct we question. Our antitrust team looks forward to continuing to investigate Additional relief is sought by the remaining defendants who were systematically overcharged simply for selling their homes in an already unstable real estate market.”
Anywhere, the parent company of Century21, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International Realty and Corcoran, also appears to be touting its settlement efforts. Anywhere Real Estate ranks No. 517 on the Fortune 1000 list.
“We are pleased that Anywhere has reached a nationwide settlement with the plaintiffs in the Burnett and Mohr lawsuits,” the company said in an emailed statement. wealth. “The road to obtaining final approval and implementation of the settlement has been long, and Anywhere has taken an important first step toward a resolution that frees not only the company, but also our affiliated agents and franchisees. We believe the settlement The agreement will eliminate future uncertainty regarding upcoming trials, potential additional claims and legal fees, allowing Anywhere to focus on and continue to serve its agents and franchisees on the next steps. In light of the ongoing legal proceedings and disputes between the parties Due to the confidentiality agreement between us, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
The two cases are similar; both plaintiffs claim that the National Association of Realtors and others created and enforced anti-competitive rules requiring home sellers to list their properties on local databases of properties for sale, known as “multiple listings.” When a home is sold, a commission is paid to the agent who represents the homebuyer through the MLS Service (MLS).
In Burnett v. NAR , the plaintiffs claimed in a class action complaint that the defendants “conspired to require home sellers to pay inflated amounts to brokers representing buyers of their homes, in violation of federal antitrust laws, Missouri Antitrust Law”. Merchandising Practices Act (“MMPA”) and Missouri Antitrust Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 416.031. ”
In Moehrl v. National Association of Realtors , the plaintiffs claimed that “requiring home sellers to provide buyer’s agents with compensation packages for listing their homes on the MLS (along with other NAR rules) is anticompetitive and causes them to artificially pay cost”. When they sell a home, the buyer’s agent’s commission is inflated and super competitive. ”
However, unlike Anywhere, the National Association of Realtors does not appear to be planning to address this issue.In a statement emailed wealthwhich said settlement was always an option for either party in the lawsuit, but that was not the approach NAR intended to take.
“NAR’s commitment to defending itself in court remains intact, and we are confident we can prove the legality of the rules under attack,” said Mantill Williams, vice president for communications. “A pro-competitive, pro-consumer local MLS brokerage market ensures fairness, efficiency, transparency and market-driven pricing options for homebuyers and sellers. The practice of paying listing agents to buyer’s agents allows so many buyers to Brokers participate in local markets, thereby saving sellers time and money, thereby creating a larger pool of buyers for sellers… We look forward to arguing our case in court.”