Real Estate

Buyers call Keller Williams, anywhere, RE/MAX Settlements.

Franchisors are not required to implement the changes in business practices they agreed to until after the appeal process.

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After trying — and failing — to block the final approval of nationwide settlements to resolve antitrust claims against major real estate franchisors Keller Williams and RE/MAX, a homebuyer is appealing to a higher court. .

The appeal could delay the implementation of settlements in which Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams agreed to pay $83.5 million, $55 million and $70 million, respectively. No one in the settlement classes who filed a claim will receive payment until any appeals are resolved.

Franchisors are also not required to implement the business practice changes they agreed to after the appeal process, when settlements become effective. These changes do not require franchisees and their affiliated agents to join or become members of the National Association of Realtors or to follow the Realtor Code of Ethics or NAR’s Multiple Listing Service Policy Handbook.

“This type of appeal is neither unusual nor unexpected,” an Anywhere spokesperson told Inman in a statement. “We are fully confident that our settlement is fair, reasonable and enforceable, and that the trial court’s order granting it final approval was absolutely correct.”

Neither location responded when asked whether the appeal would delay changes in business practices that either location agreed to in the settlement until the appeal is resolved.

Sitzer in settlement of three franchisors | Burnett, Moehrl and Nosalek, as well as others, suit similar home sellers nationwide. The lawsuit alleges that some of NAR’s rules violate the Sherman Antitrust Act by increasing seller costs. The suits primarily target the NAR’s contribution rule (also known as the cooperative compensation rule), which requires listing brokers to offer commissions to buyer brokers to sell a property to a realtor affiliated with a realtor. More than can be listed in the listing service.

Michael Ketchmark of Ketchmark & ​​McCreight, Lead Plaintiff’s Counsel at Setzer | Burnett Case, told Inman that the appeal will not affect the implementation of policy changes that NAR agreed to in a separate settlement, which has not yet received final approval but whose policy changes will take effect on August 17. There are

“We will have to evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether other defendants can wait to implement changes in practice until after an appeal, but failure to do so would subject them to additional liability,” Ketchmark said. can suffer from.” “Any company with common sense should do this now.”

Michael Catchmark

“All parties in this case are confident that the Court of Appeals will side with the trial court and uphold the settlement,” Ketchmark added. “We all knew the appeal was coming and we were prepared.”

On June 4, home buyer and home seller James Mills filed an appeal in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was granted May 9 by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen R. Boff for the Western District of Missouri’s Western Division. The decision was demanded to be annulled. Mallis told the court that he would appeal on May 31.

There are no arguments so far in Millis’ legal filings regarding the appeal. According to the appellate court’s schedule, he has to file the appeal brief by July 24.

But Mullis is the named plaintiff in a lawsuit called Batton 1 (formerly Leeder), which seeks class-action status, and names NAR, Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams as defendants. And the NAR alleges the same laws discussed in The Home Seller. Lawsuits have resulted in home buyers violating state and federal antitrust laws to inflate home prices.

On April 13, Mills, who sold a home in addition to buying one, filed the petition. Objection to the franchisor’s premises in Setzer Burnett Court in Missouri.

“A court should approve a settlement only if the parties to the settlement clearly develop a claim. Button “Act from the definition of ‘released claims’ or otherwise clarify that the settlements do not release claims for damages related to transactions in which class members purchased homes,” Mollis’ attorney wrote.

“If not, the court must reject these settlements as unfair and unreasonable and not providing adequate representation to members of the homebuyer class.”

On May 8, the Batton 1 plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to try to block final approval of the settlements, arguing that the deals prevent the homebuyers from pursuing their claims. would not stop doing so, but were rebuffed as objectors, including Millais, were given a chance to voice their objections at a May 9 fair hearing in which the deals were ultimately approved.

Bow’s approval of the deals did not eliminate lawsuits brought by homebuyers, but it reduced the size of potential classes in homebuyer cases because it would not allow those who Pursued claims for damages by both the buyer and the seller of the property.

On June 3, the law firm Knie and Shealy, which represents South Carolina home sellers in another commission suit, also announced plans to file an appeal against the final approval of the Keller Williams, Anywhere and RE/MAX settlements. , but he has not yet filed an appeal. .

Inman has asked Keller Williams and RE/MAX for comment and will update this story when they hear back.

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