A gavel next to a stack of legal papers

Home sellers make another bid for consolidation in Missouri 

Plaintiffs in Umpa and Gibson have asked the court to merge the two lawsuits. The antitrust cases cover similar ground and name several of the same defendants.

April 22, 2024
2 minutes

With a national consolidation plan off the table for now, the home sellers in two Missouri cases filed last year are hoping the judge will consider merging just the Gibson and Umpa lawsuits.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in both cases submitted documents April 19 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri requesting consolidation.

When the Umpa case was filed at the end of December, attorneys for Gibson and Umpa asked the court to consolidate those lawsuits with seven others that had been filed following the Sitzer/Burnett verdict.

On April 12, however, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled against a large-scale consolidation while ongoing settlements are still being finalized.

What are these cases about? The Gibson case was filed immediately after the Sitzer/Burnett verdict was announced at the end of October, while the Umpa case was filed at the end of December. 

Both cases are similar to the many other copycat commissions lawsuits filed in the past several months: Home sellers claim the defendants conspired to inflate commissions and unfairly forced sellers to compensate buyer agents. 

In the filing submitted to Judge Stepen Bough — who also oversaw the Sitzer/Burnett case — attorneys asserted that combining Gibson and Umpa will not result "in confusion, undue delay, or unfair prejudice to any party." The cases are in the early stages of litigation and both involve common questions of law and fact.

Who are the defendants? While there is some overlap among the defendants in the two cases, several additional brokerages were named in Umpa.

Gibson defendants: eXp, Redfin, Weichert Realtors, United Real Estate, Douglas Elliman and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Compass and Howard Hanna were originally included in the defendant list for Gibson, but Compass reached a settlement agreement in the commissions lawsuits on March 22, while Howard Hanna was dismissed from the case on Jan. 17. 

Berkshire Hathaway Energy — owned by Warren Buffett, and the parent company of HomesServices of America — was added to the case on March 4.

Umpa defendants: HomeServices of America, eXp, Redfin, Weichert Reators, United Real Estate, Howard Hanna, Douglas Elliman, At World, Realty One Group and HomeSmart.

Other defendants who were named in Umpa but have since settled are NAR, Keller Williams, Compass and Real Brokerage.

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