Howard Hanna dropped from national commissions lawsuit
Defendants in the Gibson case — which no longer includes Hanna — were also denied a request for a delay on Wednesday.
As soon as the Sitzer/Burnett jury came back with their verdict on Oct. 31, plaintiffs' attorney Michael Ketchmark was ready with a new, bigger commissions lawsuit. Known as the Gibson case, it named seven brokerage firms and NAR as defendants, and it applies to sellers nationwide.
Now, one defendant has been dismissed, and the judge has denied a motion filed late last year by NAR attorneys.
Howard Hanna is out
On Jan. 17, the plaintiffs in the Gibson case filed a document voluntarily dismissing Howard Hanna Real Estate Services without prejudice. Bough approved the dismissal, adding that each party will bear its own costs, expense and attorney's fees. The filing did not offer an explanation for the dismissal.
While Howard Hanna got a reprieve from this lawsuit, the firm is still a defendant in two other class action commissions cases: Batton 2, filed by buyers in Illinois on Nov. 2, and Umpa, filed on Dec. 27 in Missouri.
The remaining defendants in the Gibson case are NAR, Compass, eXp, Redfin, Weichert Realtors, United Real Estate and Douglas Elliman.
The case moves ahead
On Dec. 27, attorneys for the National Association of Realtors filed a motion with the court requesting a delay in the Gibson case. They argued that the case should be stayed until after the post-trial motions in Sitzer/Burnett have been resolved.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough denied the motion on Jan. 17, asserting that the post-trial motions "would not necessarily resolve this case, and the court also finds that plaintiffs may face hardship if a stay were granted as they would allegedly be continuing to pay inflated commission rates," according to court documents.
Bough also noted that similar lawsuits have been filed across the country — about 20 major commissions cases are working their way through the courts — and no stays have been requested or granted in those cases