A jury trial is scheduled in December for the lawsuit filed by online real estate networking company ActiveRain Corp. against Realtor.com operator Move Inc. over a failed acquisition.
ActiveRain alleges in its lawsuit, filed in August and amended in November, that Move Inc. breached its contract, violated the California Trade Secrets Act and engaged in fraud and unfair competition in its dealings with the company, among other allegations.
In its response, Move countered that its actions with ActiveRain “were conducted in good faith and without fraud, oppression or malice toward (ActiveRain) or its legal rights.”
While the original complaint had alleged that Move Inc. violated the Washington Unfair Business Practices Act, the amended complaint instead references California code related to unfair competition, as the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in California. ActiveRain is based in Seattle and Move Inc. is based in Southern California.
Jerry McNaul, a lawyer who represents ActiveRain, said that both parties are engaged in the evidence-gathering phase of the trial and in taking depositions.
“There are no current settlement negotiations going on. Basically, we’re getting the matter ready for trial,” McNaul said today.
The discovery, or evidence-gathering phase of the lawsuit is scheduled to end on Sept. 5, with a final pretrial conference scheduled on Nov. 24 and a 10-day jury trial set for Dec. 2.
Representatives for Move Inc. did not offer a comment about the lawsuit.
In addition to ActiveRain’s substitution of California law for Washington law in its unfair business practices allegations, the amended complaint also removes a paragraph that discusses past management problems at Homestore (Move Inc.’s previous company name), including criminal investigations and convictions of several former company officials.
U.S. District Court Judge Dean D. Pregerson noted that this deletion was consistent with a court order on a motion by Move Inc. to strike that information from the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Move Inc. approached ActiveRain in November 2006 about a potential purchase of ActiveRain, “and gave it assurances in this regard in order to convince ActiveRain to disclose its confidential information to Move.”
The lawsuit also alleges that ActiveRain officials were led to believe that the acquisition was nearly a done deal, and that Move officials canceled the deal within hours after ActiveRain provide Move with “highly sensitive material about its members and its network or platform in electronic format, in anticipation of the supposed impending closing.”
ActiveRain has a community of about 74,000 members who can participate in blogs and groups, and can network and communicate online with other members and the public. Move Inc. is a public company that operates popular home-search sites Move.com and Realtor.com. Move operates Realtor.com through a contract with the National Association of Realtors trade group.
Online real estate marketing company HouseValues last month announced a $2.75 million investment in ActiveRain.