Anywhere, RE/MAX settlement approval moves forward
The two firms — the only major brokerage companies yet to settle in the commissions cases — are on track to finalize their agreements this May.
The Anywhere Real Estate and RE/MAX settlements in the landmark commissions lawsuits are set for final approval on May 9.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough gave preliminary approval to the deal in November. The proposed settlement includes not just the Sitzer/Burnett, Moehrl and Nosalek cases, but covers all other MLS regions "four years prior to the date a new or amended complaint is filed" — meaning the two brokerage companies should be protected from potential damage awards in the dozens of copycat lawsuits filed in the wake of the Sitzer/Burnett verdict.
Still up in the air is whether the Department of Justice will step in to question the agreement as it did with the settlement reached between MLS PIN and plaintiffs in the Nosalek case.
How we got here: In September, ahead of the Sitzer/Burnett trial, Anywhere and RE/MAX each reached settlements with the plaintiffs that included both monetary payments and policy changes around buyer agent compensation. Anywhere agreed to pay $83.5 million in damages and RE/MAX settled for $55 million.
The companies also agreed to change certain practices. Specifically, they will not require agents to join NAR, they will ensure their agents clearly disclose that commissions are fully negotiable and not set by law, and they will remove minimum commission requirements.
What's next for the other defendants: The $1.8 billion verdict against the defendants in Sitzer/Burnett who did not reach settlement — the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America — does not yet have a date for final approval. Judge Bough is still accepting post-trial motions in that case.