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Court allows Gibson and Umpa suits to consolidate

Both lawsuits were filed in Missouri, share common defendants and are under the purview of Judge Stephen R. Bough

Judge Stephen R. Bough ruled Tuesday that the Umpa and Gibson commission lawsuits can consolidate.

“The Court finds that consolidation is appropriate given that the instant case and Gibson, et al. v. National Association of Realtors, et al., involve common questions of law and fact, consolidation will conserve judicial resources and promote efficiency, and consolidation will not cause undue delay, confusion, or prejudice,” Bough wrote in his ruling.

The plaintiffs in the two suits filed a joint motion last week to consolidate. In their motion, the plaintiffs argued that they should be allowed to consolidate as both cases were filed in Missouri, ask similar questions, share common defendants and have relatively similar classes. Additionally, both suits were under the purview of Bough.

The Gibson suit was filed in late October 2023 by Michael Ketchmark, just after a Missouri jury ruled in favor of his clients in the Sitzer/Burnett suit that found real estate industry players liable for colluding to artificially inflate agent commissions. Defendants in the Gibson suit include NAR, CompasseXp World HoldingsRedfin, Weichert RealtorsUnited Real EstateHoward Hanna and Douglas Elliman.

The Umpa suit was filed in late December 2023 by a Maryland home seller. It also included NAR, Howard Hanna, Weichert Realtors, Redfin, Compass, eXp World Holdings, United Real Estate and Douglas Elliman as defendants, as well as Keller WilliamsHomeServices of America, HomeSmart International, The Real Brokerage, Real Broker and Realty One Group.

Since the suits were filed, AnywhereRE/MAXKeller Williams, NARCompass, @properties and The Real Brokerage have settled the commission lawsuits.

The Umpa and Gibson cases were also part of the failed multidistrict litigation attempt. Earlier this month, the six-judge panel ruled that nine of the commission lawsuits could not consolidate, noting that due to the “broad contours” of NAR’s settlement agreement “and the changing landscape of the parties’ positions on centralization, we think it wise to deny centralization at this time.“

“The settlement may well resolve at least some claims in this litigation, if not many,” the lead panel judge wrote. “We cannot speculate on the number of parties and claims that will remain once this and any other settlements are approved.”

Bough is giving the plaintiffs in the Gibson and Umpa suits three days to file a consolidated and amended class-action complaint.

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