LegalReal Estate

Brokerage defendants file motion to dismiss Batton 2 suit

The defendants claim the plaintiffs fail to allege facts that are evidence of collusion

The remaining brokerage defendants in the Batton 2 homebuyer commission lawsuit filed a joint motion to dismiss the suit last week. This is the second time the remaining defendants have looked to get the case dismissed.

In the motion filed by  CompasseXp World HoldingsRedfin, Weichert Realtors and United Real Estate, the defendants claim that the homebuyer plaintiffs are simply trying “to parrot the allegations they made in an amended complaint,” filed in the Batton 1 commission lawsuit that consists of the same plaintiffs but a different group of brokerage defendants.

The brokerage defendants outlined several reasons in their filing why the suit should be dismissed, including that the plaintiffs lack the antitrust standing they need to sue this group of defendants under state and federal antitrust law because the home seller plaintiffs in other lawsuits are seeking the same injunctive relief and are the more directly injured party.

In support of this argument, the motion states that the amended complaint fails to show “that homebuyers faced ‘a significant threat of injury from an impending violation of the antitrust laws or from a contemporary violation likely to continue or recur.’”

The motion also argues that the court “lacks personal jurisdiction of any kind over the eight Named Plaintiffs,” as the suit was filed in Illinois and only one of the plaintiffs is a resident of Illinois.

“Each of these out-of-state Named Plaintiffs allegedly enlisted a buyer-agent in the period from 2018 to 2021 to purchase a home in these other states. The eighth Named Plaintiff purchased a home in Illinois in 2022 using a buyer-agent from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” the filing states.

Additionally, the defendants noted that none of them are headquartered or incorporated in Illinois, making it impossible for the plaintiffs to invoke general jurisdiction.

The motion also argues that the plaintiffs’ complaint “fails to allege facts to plausibly suggest that the Defendants entered into any agreement — with non-party National Association of Realtors (NAR) or amongst each other.” The filing states that the plaintiffs’ antitrust claims are based on allegations about the defendants’ “unilateral conduct, not what they agreed to do,” that they fail to allege that the “defendants entered into any agreement with each other or any other horizontal competitor,” and that they fail to allege “facts showing that each Defendant individually entered into the purported conspiracy.”

Finally, the defendants also claim that plaintiffs’ complaint is “untimely” as NAR’s rules have been public since 1996, yet the plaintiffs did not file the Batton 2 suit until 2023.

In addition to the joint motion to dismiss, United Real Estate and Weichert Realtors filed motions to dismiss due to lack of jurisdiction.

Howard Hanna and Douglas Elliman were named as defendants when the suit was filed, but each have been dismissed. HomeServices of America, which was a defendant in the Batton 1 suit, was also dismissed from that case earlier this year.

The discovery process for each of the Batton suits is not scheduled to be completed until May 2026.

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