Judge likely to merge 2 Illinois commissions cases
The lawsuits, known as Batton 1 and Batton 2, may soon be combined, with both moving forward under Judge Andrea Wood.
Two cases in Illinois filed by homebuyers alleging a conspiracy to keep commission fees inflated may soon be merging into one and moving forward.
Which cases are involved? Batton 1 was originally filed by homebuyer Judah Leeder (and known as the Leeder case) in 2021. Mya Batton later took over as the class representative. NAR, Keller Williams, HomeServices of America, RE/MAX and Anywhere Real Estate were named as defendants.
The case was dismissed in 2022 but subsequently refiled.
Batton 2, also led by plaintiff Mya Batton, was filed Nov. 2, just two days after the Sitzer/Burnett jury reached its verdict. The claims in Batton 1 and Batton 2 are essentially the same, but the second case names a different set of defendants: Compass, eXp, Redfin, Weichert Realtors, United Real Estate, Howard Hanna Real Estate and Douglas Elliman.
What did the judge say? During a Jan. 23 phone conference status report on the Batton 1 case, U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood suggested she was leaning toward reassigning Batton 2 into her court and merging it with Batton 1.
The Batton 2 case is currently being heard by Judge Edmond Chang in the same Northern Illinois District courthouse.
During the call, Wood asked attorney Randall Ewing, who represents the plaintiffs in Batton 1, if he had any concerns about combining the two cases. Ewing questioned whether the defendants in Batton 2 were ready to move forward — or if they might raise issues unique to that case, resulting in delays.
Wood responded that she was still inclined to move forward with taking over the Batton 2 case but will meet with those parties "and get a sense of how things are likely to proceed" prior to the next status update hearing on Feb. 28.
Could the case be dismissed? After Batton 1 was refiled, the defendants submitted a motion for summary judgment. Judge Wood suggested that she would have a decision on that motion sometime this week, but with a status update hearing already scheduled for Feb. 28, it appears Wood is planning to deny the motion to dismiss.
"The case will be proceeding forward, I expect," Wood said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the Anywhere and RE/MAX settlements included the Batton case. At this time, the settlements explicitly include the commissions cases brought by sellers, not buyers.