Howard Hanna Real Estate logo and the scales of justice
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

Howard Hanna dismissed from Illinois commissions suit 

Hanna was removed from Batton 2, marking the second time this year that the family-owned brokerage has been dropped from a buyer-broker compensation case.

March 5, 2024
2 minutes

Howard Hanna Real Estate received another reprieve this week. For the second time, the independent brokerage has been dismissed from a buyer agent commission class action lawsuit.

Which case is involved? In court documents filed March 4 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, plaintiffs in the Batton 2 case voluntarily dismissed Howard Hanna as a defendant without prejudice.

The document did not state why Howard Hanna was being dismissed, although it did note that Howard Hanna had not served an answer or asked for a summary judgment at the time of the dismissal.

Batton 2, like many of the copycat lawsuits, claims a conspiracy to keep commissions inflated. But unlike most of the other cases, including Sitzer/Burnett, it was brought by homebuyers, not sellers, arguing against the current system of buyer agent compensation.

Unclear ties to Batton: While there was no specific reason given for the dismissal, it appears Howard Hanna was only indirectly connected to the Batton 2 plaintiffs.

The original complaint makes no mention of a plaintiff working with a Howard Hanna agent to purchase a home; it only notes that the brokerage had executives who served on the National Association of Realtors' board of directors.

NAR is not a defendant in Batton 2, but the association was named in a related case, Batton 1. Howard Hanna, however, was never involved in Batton 1. An Illinois judge is considering whether the two cases should be merged into one.

What other cases have named Howard Hanna? The brokerage was one of seven firms targeted in the Gibson case — the first copycat lawsuit, filed immediately after the Sitzer/Burnett verdict was announced. But in January, Howard Hanna was dismissed from that case, again with no reason stated. 

The company remains a defendant in a Pennsylvania lawsuit known as Spring Way/Kay, and in another known as Umpa, based in Missouri. Both suits were filed in December.

Howard Hanna had no comment on the two case dismissals.

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