A judge's gavel and a row of suburban homes
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

Sitzer/Burnett plaintiffs push for steep judgment — plus interest 

Attorneys argued that the home sellers “should not have to wait indefinitely to defend their verdict on appeal” and provided details about the case’s timeline.

April 12, 2024
3 minutes

Even as the Sitzer/Burnett case moves toward a resolution, the plaintiffs have some opinions on how it is progressing.

In an April 11 court filing, attorneys presented several key arguments, and some details about the lawsuit's timeline came to light.

Attorneys for the Missouri home sellers, who the jury sided with in October, submitted a reply in support of their motion for entry of judgment of around $5.4 billion, with about $4.7 billion coming from HomeServices of America, the remaining defendant in the case.

The filing counters the response submitted by HomeServices on April 1, where the brokerage company argued that it was premature to finalize a judgment amount because the settlements with Anywhere Real Estate, RE/MAX, Keller Williams and the National Association of Realtors haven't been finalized.

What the plaintiffs had to say: In the Apr. 11 filing, the plaintiffs said HomeServices' response was just a delaying tactic to avoid starting the clock on interest accruing on the settlement.

The plaintiffs' attorneys argued that the requested judgment amount — $5.4 billion, which, because of antitrust law rules, is triple the amount of the jury award of $1.8 billion — is certain. They acknowledged that the amount HomeServices will be required to pay would be adjusted if the settlement totals end up differing from the $626.5 million that has been preliminarily approved. 

Interest could be piling up: The entry of judgment request also includes awarding interest starting from Nov. 1, 2023, the day after the jury verdict. The attorneys for the home sellers said that with the required interest rate of 5.4%, that would amount to about $700,000 per day.

"Thus, by seeking to delay both entry of judgment and running of post-judgment interest, HomeServices is asking the Court to deprive the Class of many millions of dollars in interest to which it is entitled," the filing stated.

The attorneys also noted that the case is now five years old, and class members "should not have to wait indefinitely to defend their verdict on appeal."

Key dates: The filing included some deadlines that provide insight into when this case could wrap up:

  • April 23: Post-trial motions are scheduled to be completed, which means U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Bough can make a ruling on whether a new trial is warranted or a judgment as a matter of law is warranted.

  • May 9: Final approval for the settlements with Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams. Interestingly, the plaintiff attorneys estimated that while preliminary approval for the NAR settlement could happen in May, final approval may not take place until early 2025. The settlement with NAR was announced on March 15, several months after the Sitzer/Burnett jury reached its verdict.

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