Brokerage punished with $5M verdict in agent poaching case

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Competition for agents, especially top producers, is par for the course among real estate brokerages. But a jury found that one prominent firm crossed the line — and made the firm pay dearly for it.

After a four-week trial and a two-year legal battle, a jury awarded Douglas Elliman Real Estate $4.75 million. The ruling was issued after finding that, in early 2015, competitor William Raveis Real Estate and former Elliman branch manager Lisa Theiss, while still employed by Elliman, “schemed” to “unlawfully” move 11 agents, including four top producers — who represented about half of the office’s closed sales in 2014 — to Raveis’s then-newly opened branch office in Armonk, New York.