A judge's gavel on a table of hundred dollar bills

Plaintiffs seek whopping $4.7 billion from HomeServices  

The last defendant in the Sitzer/Burnett commissions case said it anticipated the motion and will respond with its own court filings in April.

March 18, 2024
2 minutes

After NAR's landmark settlement on Friday, just one defendant remains in the Sitzer/Burnett case — HomeServices of America — and the plaintiffs are asking them to pay big.

In a motion filed March 18, attorneys for the plaintiffs requested that HomeServices pay the entire, trebled award amount — meaning three times the jury award of $1.8 billion — minus the settlement amounts agreed to by the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams, Anywhere and RE/MAX, which add up to $626.5 million.

The remaining total? More than $4.7 billion. 

And they want it soon, writing in the motion, "There is no reason to delay judgment against the HomeServices defendants while the settlements with NAR, Keller Williams, Anywhere and RE/MAX are administered." The settlement with NAR is expected to take months to finalize, while the three other settlements are expected to wrap up this spring.

Prior to NAR's settlement announcement last week, U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough was considering post-trial motions as well as finalizing the settlement agreements with Keller Williams, Anywhere and RE/MAX. The judge has not yet granted preliminary approval to the NAR deal.

Chris Kelly, executive vice president at HomeServices of America, said the filing was "anticipated," adding that the company looks forward to presenting its side through reply briefs later in April.

Russ Cofano, CEO of Collabra Technology, said in an email that the motion "appears to be a hardball positioning play" by the plaintiffs to get HomeServices to settle — and it's a sign that the brokerage has been more reluctant to settle on terms similar to the other defendants. Cofano also has served as an attorney and industry legal counsel.

Even if the motion were granted, "it is highly doubtful that they would end up paying anything close to that much at the end of the day," Cofano said.

Real Estate News has reached out to lead plaintiff attorney Michael Ketchmark for comment.

Verdict tally: In coming up with this mind-boggling amount for one defendant, plaintiff attorneys noted that the original award was nearly $1.8 billion, and that amount should be tripled to nearly $5.4 billion per antitrust law rules. 

In addition to the multibillion-dollar sum, attorneys are also asking HomeServices to pay 5.4% interest compounded annually, dating back to Nov. 1, the day after the verdict was reached.

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