A judge sits at a desk signing legal papers

Judge says yes to consolidation of Missouri cases 

The court approved an April 19 request filed by the Gibson and Umpa plaintiffs to merge the lawsuits, which were both under the purview of Judge Stephen Bough.

April 24, 2024
2 minutes

The Gibson and Umpa copycat commissions lawsuits are now one and the same after a federal judge in Missouri granted a consolidation request on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs immediately filed an amended complaint merging the cases. The new case is titled Gibson, et al. v. National Association of Realtors.

The road to consolidation: The plaintiffs asked the court to merge the two Missouri cases last week. Previously, attorneys for Gibson and Umpa had submitted a request to consolidate the cases with seven others, but on April 12, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied that request, stating that consolidation ""is not necessary at this time," noting that settlements by several defendants are still being finalized. 

The panel indicated it may be willing to take on the consolidation issue later, once the dust from the various agreements has settled. 

Case details: 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 were filed on behalf of home sellers claiming a conspiracy among real estate companies to inflate commissions and force sellers to compensate buyer agents. 

Judge Stephen Bough — who also oversaw the Sitzer/Burnett case — agreed to consolidate the Gibson and Umpa cases, writing that the cases "involve common questions of law and fact" and that merging them would conserve court resources and efficiency.

The revolving door of defendants in the consolidated case now include Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Douglas Elliman, eXp, Redfin, Weichert Realtors, United Real Estate and HomeServices of America.

Several defendants previously named in the merged case have entered into settlement agreements, including Realty ONE Group and At World Properties just today.

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