A gavel on a laptop

Company joins in appeal of commissions settlements 

In a previous objection, Spring Way — a former plaintiff in a copycat case — said the amount paid by Anywhere, RE/MAX and KW won’t cover all “injured parties.”

June 7, 2024
2 minutes

A limited liability company has joined another plaintiff in appealing the recently finalized commissions settlement agreements for Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams.

What's happening: Spring Way Center LLC filed a notice in the Sitzer/Burnett case on June 7 stating that it is appealing the brokerages' settlements to the U.S. Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit. The three settlements, which were given final approval on May 9, totaled $208.5 million and required the firms to make changes to their commissions practices.

The company is joining James Mullis, a plaintiff in both Batton cases, who filed an appeal on May 31. The first Batton case was filed in 2021 by a buyer, not a seller, claiming a conspiracy to keep commissions inflated. The second case was filed in November 2023.

Spring Way and Mullis have until July 29 to submit briefs with additional arguments regarding the appeal, according to court documents.

Spring Way was one of many home sellers to take part in a wave of copycat lawsuits following the Sitzer/Burnett verdict. The company was originally the lead plaintiff in a case filed last December in a Pennsylvania district court, but was later removed.

Why the plaintiffs want to appeal: While Mullis has objected to wording in the settlements that impacted the Batton cases, Spring Way has previously argued that the settlement amounts are too low given the vast size of the classes.

In an April 13 filing, Spring Way argued that while the settlement deal benefited the plaintiffs in the Sitzer/Burnett and Moehrl cases, "in no way does it benefit most of the absent class members."

In regard to the more than $200 million in damages, Spring Way argued that the amount "is grossly disproportionate to the amount appropriate to adequately compensate the enormous number of injured parties."

"Plaintiffs in these cases have apparently bargained away the rights of the citizens of other states in order to opportunistically settle their own cases, ensure their own clients receive cooperation at trial, and guarantee coverage of their own trial fees and expenses," Spring Way attorneys argued in the April filing.

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