Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty founder, with a gavel in the background.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Glenn Sanford and eXp dismissed from misconduct case 

Recruiter Brent Gove has also been dismissed from the lawsuit involving allegations of sexual assault, while Michael Bjorkman’s motion to dismiss was denied.

May 28, 2024
3 minutes

After months of litigation, eXp Realty, its founder Glenn Sanford, and top recruiter Brent Gove have been dismissed from a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by former eXp agents and a conspiracy among company leadership to turn a blind eye to bad behavior. 

What is the case about? Last December, a suit was filed by Anya Roberts, a Florida-based eXp agent who alleged that she was drugged and sexually assaulted during an eXp recruiting event in Mexico. In the suit, Roberts claimed that such "detestable actions" were "rampant" within eXp and at events organized by the company. An earlier suit was filed in February 2023 alleging similar misconduct.

Former eXp agents Michael Bjorkman and David Golden were at the center of both lawsuits, and they were fired by the brokerage after the alleged misconduct came to light, Sanford said during an earnings call in 2023

At the time, eXp's formal response was that "the claims against eXp and its leadership have no basis in fact or law," and the company sought to dismiss the suit.

What the court said: In reviewing the motion to dismiss, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte, Jr., indicated that there were a few issues with the plaintiff's case, such as the claim of a direct financial benefit for Sanford and Gove resulting from Bjorkman and Golden's recruiting efforts.

Judge Birotte noted that he agreed with the defendants' argument "that there are no recruitment efforts in play since Roberts already worked for eXp, never joined Golden's downline, and whatever benefit eXp could receive from her employment was already received at the time she joined, not after a failed attempt to switch her sponsor."

There also appeared to be a lack of evidence pointing to Sanford and Gove's direct knowledge of the misconduct — specifically whether "the Defendants were made aware of the police reports or that they knew the contents," Judge Birotte wrote. In addressing Gove's motion to dismiss, the judge pointed to the plaintiff's "failure to allege facts demonstrating his knowledge of the sexual assaults sufficient to confer beneficiary liability," adding that the court "believes the Complaint would benefit from additional facts articulating Gove's awareness of the alleged bad behavior with more specificity."

What happens next? While the court dismissed Sanford, Gove and eXp from the suit, Bjorkman's motion to dismiss was denied by Judge Birotte, who wrote that Roberts' claims against Bjorkman met the standard for a "commercial sex act" and "enticement."  

Sanford and Gove's motions to dismiss were granted "with leave to amend," meaning Roberts has three weeks from the May 23 order to amend her suit, which will likely focus on the primary suspects of wrongdoing: Golden and Bjorkman.

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