Anywhere brokerages dropped from Pennsylvania commissions case
The lawsuit known as Spring Way also has gained new plaintiffs and a new name: Kay. Spring Way LLC, which had used Coldwell Banker, is no longer involved.
The players are changing, but a Pennsylvania commissions lawsuit is continuing to move forward with two new plaintiffs and six new brokerages replacing a pair of Anywhere affiliates.
The lawsuit, filed last month by a group of home sellers and a limited liability company, had been known by the LLC's name: Spring Way. However, documents filed Jan. 26 showed that Spring Way and an individual seller have been replaced by new plaintiffs Danielle and Jessie Kay. Like the other remaining plaintiffs, they sold a home in 2021 — and they did not use an Anywhere-affiliated brokerage.
Anywhere previously reached a settlement in the Sitzer/Burnett commissions lawsuit, which CEO Ryan Schneider told Real Estate News "took care of our franchisees and agents and shielded them from this problem."
Who is being sued? West Penn MLS is a defendant, along with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, NextHome PPM Realty, Realty ONE Group Gold Standard, Realty ONE Group Platinum, Realty ONE Group Horizon and the six new additions: Howard Hanna, River Point Realty, Bovard-Anderson Co, Priority Realty, Rubinoff Realty and Found It PA.
Coldwell Banker Realty and Piatt Sotheby's International Realty — both of which are part of Anywhere — are no longer defendants. Spring Way and the other dropped plaintiff, Nancy Wehrheim, had used Coldwell Banker.
The Kays used Realty ONE Group Gold Standard as their listing broker.
What is the Kay case about? The suit is similar to others filed after the landmark Sitzer/Burnett verdict in Missouri. It alleges that the defendants enforced the buyer-broker commission rule throughout Western Pennsylvania, unfairly forcing home sellers to make an offer of compensation to buyer agents. This resulted in home sellers paying between 5-6% of the total sale price in broker commissions.
West Penn MLS operates independently of the National Association of Realtors, which is not a defendant in the case. Because it is broker-owned, West Penn was "not required to implement the rules and practices at issue in this action." However, the new filing points out that "many (if not all) of West Penn's officers and directors have some association with NAR."
Is this a class-action lawsuit? Plaintiffs are seeking class-action status. If granted, the class would include anyone who sold homes listed on West Penn MLS in the past four years using one of the named defendant brokerage companies and paid a commission to the buyer's broker.