MLS must admit any licensed broker

Court OKs DOJ, South Carolina MLS agreement

A federal district court has granted final approval of a settlement between the Department of Justice and a South Carolina multiple listing service that it accused of anticompetitive practices, but the potential for a dispute over the MLS’s initiation fee for new members remains.

The Department of Justice sued Columbia, S.C.-based Consolidated Multiple Listing Service Inc. (CMLS) in May 2008. The antitrust suit alleged the broker-operated MLS’s membership restrictions and rules hindered discount and "fee-for-service" brokers from competing with traditional, full-service companies that allegedly controlled CMLS’s board.