HomeServices of America logo and a judge's gavel
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

HomeServices of America dismissed from commissions case 

The Batton 1 lawsuit was brought by buyers, not sellers, and will move forward against NAR, Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams with fewer claims.

February 20, 2024
2 minutes

A U.S. District judge in Illinois is allowing a key buyer-agent commission case to move forward — but it will proceed without HomesServices of America as a defendant.

What did the judge say? In court documents filed on Feb. 20 for the Batton 1 case, Judge Andrea Wood removed HomeServices and dismissed claims seeking damages for violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and two state consumer protection law challenges.

In her ruling dismissing HomeServices from the case, Wood said that plaintiffs "failed to satisfy their burden of demonstrating this court's personal jurisdiction" over the brokerage in connecting it to the allegations in Illinois.

But the judge did allow state antitrust claims to move forward, as well as challenges related to "unjust enrichment claims" asserted under state laws in Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina — all states where plaintiffs purchased homes. 

The court also agreed that the plaintiffs in a class action case could "assert claims under the laws of states other than those states in which plaintiffs reside or purchased a home," the court documents stated.

Case details: Batton 1 was originally filed by homebuyer Judah Leeder (and known for a time as the Leeder case). It is similar to other buyer agent commission cases, alleging a conspiracy to keep commission fees inflated, but unlike Sitzer/Burnett and its many copycats, the plaintiffs are buyers, not home sellers.

Mya Batton later took over as the class representative. The National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams, HomeServices of America, RE/MAX and Anywhere Real Estate were named as defendants. Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams have agreed to proposed settlements in commissions cases that have been brought from the seller side.

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