Golden State is the Lawsuit State as commissions cases pile up
The latest filing focuses on the Northeastern part of California and takes aim at MetroList MLS as well as multiple associations and brokerages.
The steady wave of buyer commission lawsuits continues to make its way across California, with the latest case targeting several counties in the Sacramento area.
For those keeping score, this is the third copycat case in California since the Sitzer/Burnett verdict — and the second just this week. The other two cases were filed in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nationally, this marks the 17th major antitrust commissions case filed since Oct. 31. There are now more than 20 similar cases in some stage of litigation.
Case details: The plaintiff is Willsim Latham LLC, which is headquartered in Sacramento. According to court documents, the LLC sold a home in 2021 that was listed for sale on MetroList MLS. The seller paid the buyer agent a 2.5% commission fee totaling $22,500. The listing agent fee was 2%, totaling $18,000.
This class action lawsuit takes aim at MetroList, the second-largest MLS in California after CRMLS, which covers several California counties including Amador, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Stanislaus. Like the other recent filings, this case alleges a conspiracy to restrain trade and keep commissions inflated.
Anyone who used MetroList MLS in the past four years and paid a buyer broker commission is eligible to be represented in the class.
Defendants: Along with MetroList, a host of associations and brokerages were named in the suit, including the Sacramento Association of Realtors, Lodi Association of Realtors, RE/MAX, Anywhere Real Estate, Keller Williams and eXp. In total, 19 defendants were named in the filing, and up to 50 unknown defendants could be added during discovery.
The National Association of Realtors is listed as a co-conspirator in this case.
A recent rule change: According to the filing, MetroList is not associated with the National Association of Realtors and operates according to its own rules.
One interesting detail noted in the court documents is that MetroList amended its compensation rules on Jan. 1, 2024, stating that the offer of compensation could be a percentage, definite dollar amount or zero.