Commissions Lawsuit Now a Class Action, Greatly Increasing Its Scope – Real Estate News
A judge ruled that the Moehrl suit would now cover all sellers who paid commissions to named companies over a 5-year period, plus “current and future” sellers.
- The Moehrl suit lists top brokerages and MLSs as defendants and seeks damages of more than $13 billion.
- The ruling “is a blow” to the defendants as it “essentially guarantees” a trial, said industry observer Russ Cofano.
- The plaintiffs allege that requiring sellers to pay commissions to buyer brokers is a violation of federal antitrust laws.
A lawsuit that could change the way agents and brokers get paid has been declared a class action, a decision that dramatically increases its scope and potential impact.
Plaintiffs in the Moehrl vs. the National Association of Realtors, et al., case are seeking more than $13 billion in damages because they paid a cost — the buyer's agent commission — that would have been paid by homebuyers in a competitive market.
U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood ruled Wednesday that in addition to the handful of people who sued in 2019, the outcome of the lawsuit will cover thousands of home sellers "who paid a commission between March 6, 2015, and December 31, 2020' to specified companies and MLSs as well as "current and future" sellers engaged with those entities.
"With this class certification, we are pleased to be one step closer to a trial that will bring a competitive market to millions of Americans buying or selling real estate," said Benjamin D. Brown, co-lead counsel for the certified classes of home sellers, partner at Cohen Milstein and co-chair of its antitrust practice.
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