Industry flamethrower REX, which shut down early last year under the weight of allegedly unfriendly listing policies imposed by Zillow and the National Association of Realtors, has renewed its fight against the search behemoth, filing a request for a retrial in a lawsuit against the longtime foe that was dismissed in September.
The new motion filed Tuesday in a federal court in Seattle claims REX — less commonly known as Real Estate Exchange — was unfairly prohibited from presenting testimony about real estate commissions to jurors seated in the original trial back in September and that the court allowed Zillow to “improperly escape liability” against false advertising and consumer deception claims.
In its new filing, REX asserted that Zillow wrongly instructed jurors about how Zillow could defeat REX’s consumer protection claim. During the trial, the jury found REX had made a case that Zillow violated a state consumer protection law, but did not find the company liable after concluding that it could defend its practices.
REX maintains that, leading up to its closure in May 2022, Zillow deployed deceptive practices to hide non-multiple listing service home listings on its site.
“A jury has already agreed that REX’s claims are without merit,” Zillow said in a statement to Inman. “As we move forward, we are focusing on what matters most: helping customers who come to Zillow get into their next home.”
Founded in 2014, REX previously accused Zillow of destroying its more than $400 million business through deceptive and unfair home-listing practices — namely separating non-MLS listings from their MLS counterparts, making them available on a different page of its site — the “other listings” section.
In August, Judge Thomas S. Zilly of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed all of REX’s antitrust claims, saying the discount brokerage had failed to prove NAR and Zillow had agreed to work together to disadvantage non-multiple listing service listings on the portal’s website. Less than two months later, a jury ruled that REX failed to prove that Zillow used false advertising or unfair or deceptive acts in doing so.
On Tuesday, a separate federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, ruled in favor of homeseller plaintiffs in the so-called Sitzer | Burnett commission trial, paving the way for new guidelines on commission structures from the National Association of Realtors and real estate brokerages in the near future.
REX’s attorney’s could not immediately be reached by Inman. They also did not respond to Reuters on Wednesday.
REX shut down for good in May of 2o22, with company officials citing Zillow’s rules on non-MLS listings as part of their reasoning for closing up shop. The firm began as a self-described disrupter that employed salaried agents, charged homesellers a 2-percent listing fee, had a policy of never paying outside buyer’s brokers and eschewed MLSs, at least initially.
Through its brief tenure, company representatives said the brokerage was founded to to reduce “sky high” real estate commissions — the centerpiece of the Sitzer/Burnett trial in Kansas City.