BrokerageIndustry News

Real estate antitrust lawsuits gain class-action status

Brokerages deny antitrust allegations

A judge for a U.S. District Court in Idaho has granted class-action status to four separate antitrust lawsuits, which allege that four real estate brokerage companies engaged in illegal commission practices. The four class-action lawsuits were each filed against individual real estate companies -- including Aspen Realty, Holland Realty, Sel-Equity Co. and Park Pointe Realty (doing business as John L. Scott Real Estate) -- and will proceed as separate cases. The real estate companies allegedly charged a commission for their services that was based on the purchase price of undeveloped land and the actual or estimated price of homes to be built on those undeveloped lots, rather than based solely on the price of the undeveloped lots, according to the lawsuits. This practice, the lawsuits charge, constitutes a tying arrangement that violates the Sherman Antitrust Act. U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered that home buyers are eligible to join the lawsuits if they: "bought an un...

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