Industry News

Witness testimony concludes in FTC vs. Realcomp II case

Final ruling is expected in late August or early September

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A federal administrative hearing, which began June 19 to consider an antitrust complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission against a Michigan multiple listing service, closed on Thursday after the final witness was called, and a decision in the case may still be months away. The FTC charged in its October 2006 complaint that Realcomp II Ltd., a Realtor-owned MLS with about 15,000 members, adopted rules that restrict a category of for-sale property listings from public display on popular home-search Web sites including Realtor.com. The FTC settled similar actions against six other MLSs prior to an administrative hearing, which is a trial-like process. Geoffrey Oliver, the FTC's assistant director of anticompetitive practices, said that a cycle of post-trial briefings and findings of fact will follow the close of the hearing process. Deadlines of July 31 and Aug. 14 are set for both sides to prepare these legal filings, he said. After closing arguments, the administrative judge pre...