A judge strikes his gavel in a courtroom as attorneys stand in the background

Judges rule against merging commissions copycats — for now 

The ruling leaves open the possibility of consolidation after settlements have concluded. But in the meantime, cases that had been on pause can move forward.

April 12, 2024
2 minutes

A panel of judges decided that the buyer agent commission cases will not be consolidated into one large case, at least not right now.

In a four-page summary filed April 12, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that centralization "is not necessary at this time for the convenience of the parties and witnesses or to further the just and efficient conduct of the litigation."

The six judges were asked to consider whether a myriad of copycat cases filed after the Oct. 31 Sitzer/Burnett verdict should be merged and moved to one courtroom in Missouri. There were also proposals to consolidate all the active class action lawsuits, rather than the nine originally named, and have it held in a different state.

Many of the defendants, and some of the plaintiffs, were opposed to consolidation, saying that consolidation would be "inefficient and unduly burdensome," and that the local nature of many of the cases meant they were arguing over different sets of rules and situations.

Maybe later? The panel did leave the door open for future consolidation, however, but that wouldn't happen until the settlements with Anywhere, RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Compass, Real and the National Association of Realtors have been finalized.

"After settlement proceedings conclude, and it becomes evident how many claims and parties remain and the extent to which they overlay, if at all, it may be that formal centralization is needed, or perhaps, information coordination efforts can adequately address any duplicative pretrial proceedings," according to the document.

What does this mean for the copycat cases? Many of the cases were paused while the panel was deliberating, but with today's ruling, those cases can now proceed. Some, like Nosalek in Massachusetts and Moehrl in Illinois, are potentially getting closer to settlements or a trial date. Others, like the nationwide Gibson case in Missouri, are just getting started.

Get the latest real estate news delivered to your inbox.