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Ruling: Michigan MLS restrained competition

Court denies appeal of FTC order rescinding Realcomp website policy

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a comment by the National Association of Realtors' General Counsel, Laurie Janik.Michigan's largest multiple listing service "unreasonably restrained competition" among real estate brokers by refusing to transmit exclusive agency property listings favored by discount brokers to Realtor.com and other public-facing Web sites, a federal appeals court has ruled.Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Realcomp II Ltd. has "substantial market power" in Southeastern Michigan, and its website policies resulted in "actual anticompetitive effects," the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said in denying the MLS's petition to overturn a 2009 Federal Trade Commission order that the MLS rescind them.With $725,000 in backing from the National Association of Realtors, Realcomp has waged a 4 1/2-year legal battle with the FTC over its treatment of exclusive agency listings, racking up legal expenses of more than $2.4 million.Altho...