Associations, brokerages hit with 2 new commissions lawsuits
Cases filed in Arizona and Illinois target At World, Realty One, HomeSmart, Realty Executives and several local firms and Realtor associations.
The steady drip of buyer agent commission lawsuits continues, even as moves are being made to consolidate many of the recently filed cases.
The latest filings were in Illinois and Arizona, one on behalf of homebuyers and the other on behalf of sellers.
Buyers in Illinois: The Illinois case was originally filed in Cook County Circuit Court in December before moving to U.S. District Court on Jan. 5. The plaintiff is homebuyer James Tuccori. The defendant is At World Properties, parent company of @properties Christie's International Real Estate, which brought in nearly $30 billion in sales volume in 2022.
Tuccori's attorneys are requesting class action status to include anyone who, since March 2000, purchased a home listed on a NAR-affiliated MLS and used an At World buyer or seller agent.
Sellers in Arizona: The Arizona case involves home seller Joseph Masiello, who is suing more than a dozen local associations and brokerage companies, including the Arizona Association of Realtors, Phoenix Association of Realtors, HomeSmart, Realty One Group Arizona, Realty Executives and Christie's International Real Estate.
The Arizona class action suit was filed in U.S. District Court on Jan. 5, and the class includes anyone who used one of the defendants to list and sell a home on an Arizona MLS over the past four years.
Both cases make allegations similar to those leveled in many of the other lawsuits filed since the Sitzer/Burnett verdict on Oct. 31: The defendants conspired to inflate commission fees as a result of rules set by the National Association of Realtors. NAR is not a named defendant in either of the new cases, however.
The tally: 13 copycat cases have been filed across the U.S. since the Sitzer/Burnett verdict. Two list home buyers as plaintiffs, while the other 11 have been brought by home sellers. In total, there are now 17 reported major cases challenging buyer agent compensation practices.
Is consolidation coming? The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is currently reviewing a motion presented on Dec. 27 to consolidate many of these cases into one large lawsuit.
The cases currently being considered for consolidation are Umpa (Missouri), Gibson (Missouri), Grace (San Francisco Bay Area), Burton (South Carolina), Phillips (Georgia), March (New York City), Martin (Texas), QJ Team (Texas) and Spring Way Center (Pennsylvania).