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Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

HomeServices responds to massive damages request 

The firm argues that existing settlements in Sitzer/Burnett need to be finalized before a judgment can be made — and that won’t be an “uncontroversial” process.

April 1, 2024
2 minutes

HomeServices of America has responded to a motion asking the firm to pay $4.7 billion, saying that it's too early to even know the actual damages amount at this stage.

It's the latest development in the landmark Sitzer/Burnett case, where a jury decided in October to award nearly $1.8 billion to home sellers in Missouri, an amount that could be tripled.

What do the plaintiffs want? In a motion filed March 18, attorneys for the plaintiffs requested that HomeServices pay the entire, trebled award amount minus the settlement amounts agreed to by the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams, Anywhere and RE/MAX, which currently total $626.5 million. That would put the remaining total at around $4.7 billion.

How did HomeServices respond? In documents filed April 1, attorneys for HomeServices of America argued that the plaintiffs' motion for judgment was premature because the settlements haven't received final approval from U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough. They note that the "penciled-in numbers" from the attorneys representing the Missouri home sellers are provisional.

"Those settlements have not yet been approved, nor will the settlement approval proceedings be mechanical and uncontroversial," they wrote in the documents, adding that the Department of Justice has already objected to settlements of similar claims in other cases like Nosalek.

The attorneys also argued that the plaintiffs haven't shown any danger of hardship if the request is not granted.

"Plaintiffs offer no cogent explanation for why judgment ought to be entered. Plaintiffs will lose nothing by waiting until all claims are resolved," the documents stated.

Those settlements are scheduled to be finalized this spring, although it could take longer for the NAR settlement to be resolved since it was announced just two weeks ago.

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