LegalReal Estate

Burton commission lawsuit plaintiffs appeal final approval of brokerage settlements

Attorneys for Knie & Shealy filed an appeal of Judge Stephen Bough’s ruling on the Anywhere, RE/MAX and KW settlements with the Eighth Circuit

The plaintiffs in the Burton copycat commission lawsuit in South Carolina have filed an appeal that asks the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to examine Judge Stephen Bough’s final approval of the AnywhereRE/MAX and Keller Williams  commission lawsuit settlement agreements.

The appeal was filed on Monday by attorneys at Knie & Shealy on behalf of Benny D. Cheatham, Robert Douglass, Douglas Fender and Dena Fender.

At the center of the appeal is Bough’s denial of the Burton suit plaintiffs’ motion to alter or amend the order granting final approval to the brokerage defendants’ settlement agreements. Prior to the final approval hearing date, the objectors had requested that the court rule on their motion for discovery of Keller Williams’ financial data.

“The Court finds that the Objectors not only moved for discovery after the deadline for objections had passed, but courts are unanimous that objectors are generally not entitled to discovery. For these reasons, the Objectors’ request for discovery of Keller Williams financial data is denied,” Bough wrote in his ruling in early June.

The Burton plaintiffs had their arguments heard at the final approval hearing for the settlement agreements. In mid-April, attorneys for the objectors asked the court for permission to subpoena financial documents from Keller Williams “for the purpose of evaluating the objectors’ positions regarding any continuing objection and further to help provide the court with valuable evidence in ruling on whether to grant final approval of the proposed settlement entered into by and between Keller Williams Realty, Inc., and the Plaintiffs.”

James Mullis, a homebuyer plaintiff in the Batton suit, and Spring Way Center, the original lead plaintiff in the Pennsylvania copycat suit, filed appeals of Bough’s ruling on the settlement agreements in June.

“Since entering into the settlement in October 2023, RE/MAX, LLC has been committed to obtaining final court approval releasing all U.S. RE/MAX Broker/Owners and affiliates from claims in the Burnett (formerly Sitzer), Moehrl, and Nosalek cases,” a RE/MAX spokesperson wrote in an email. “RE/MAX, LLC is pleased the district court granted final approval in May. That said, appeals of the order are neither unusual or unexpected, and RE/MAX, LLC will continue to vigorously defend the settlement during the appeal process. Ultimately, the Company believes the settlement is fair and reasonable and that the district court’s order should be upheld.”

Anywhere and Keller Williams did not return a request for comment on the latest appeal.

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