Industry News

Court awards sanction against MLS

Order follows dismissal of lawsuit

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A superior court judge in Whatcom County, Wash., has ordered the Bellingham-Whatcom County Multiple Listing Service to pay $50,000 in sanctions related to an earlier lawsuit against the Northwest MLS of Kirkland, Wash., according to an announcement Thursday by the Northwest MLS. Officials at the Bellingham-Whatcom group had no comment. The Bellingham-Whatcom County MLS, which has about 900 members in 70 offices, alleged in a lawsuit filed in January that Northwest MLS engaged in a "pattern of anti-competitive activities," including the absorption of eight formerly independent MLSs in nearby counties and efforts to "undercut" independent MLSs. The Bellingham-Whatcom group also filed an antitrust complaint in November 2004 with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Northwest MLS appeared to be "intent on driving the Bellingham-Whatcom County (MLS) out of business." Northwest MLS has about 18,000 members in 1,300 brokerages across Washington. The sanction against the Be...