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California slapped with a second commissions lawsuit 

The latest case, which focuses on Los Angeles, lists 35 defendants including the largest MLS in the U.S., major brokerages and two dozen associations.

January 18, 2024
2 minutes

The California real estate world has been hit with another buyer agent commission lawsuit.

Brokerages, associations and MLSs in the greater Los Angeles region were named in the complaint filed Jan. 17, less than a week after several Bay Area brokerages were added to a case originally filed in December.

This is the fourth major case filed since the beginning of the year, following recent lawsuits targeting real estate companies in Illinois, Arizona and Nevada, and it suggests that the trend of copycat commissions lawsuits may continue even as some attorneys attempt to consolidate existing cases.

Case details: Similar to claims made in the flurry of cases filed after the Sitzer/Burnett verdict, home sellers Gael Fierro and Patrick Thurber allege that the real estate industry colluded in order to keep real estate commissions high. Both paid 6% in commission fees to buyer and listing agents.

The case was filed in U.S. District Court Central District of California on Jan. 17. 

According to court documents, the class action lawsuit includes anyone in five SoCal counties — Madera, Fresno, Merced, Mariposa and Los Angeles — who used any defendant in the sale of a property that was listed on an MLS in those counties for the past four years.

Defendants: Nearly three dozen defendants are named in the lawsuit, including the National Association of Realtors, CRMLS, The Agency, eXp, Compass, Berkshire Hathaway and a handful of local brokerage firms. 

The list also includes two dozen Realtor associations, including the California Association of Realtors and Greater Los Angeles Realtors.

California's other antitrust class action lawsuit, filed Dec. 8 and known as the Grace case, involves brokerages, associations and an MLS serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

Consolidation update: As commissions lawsuits mount, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is considering a motion to consolidate nine of the copycat cases into one big case. 

The cases currently being considered for consolidation are Gibson (Missouri), Umpa (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).

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