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Court denies West Penn MLS’ motion to stay Moratis commission suit

The judge did not comment on the plaintiffs’ claims about NAR’s settlement agreement

The future for West Penn MLS is a bit uncertain after Judge William Stickman denied its motion to stay the Moratis commission lawsuit (formerly known as the Spring Way suit) on Thursday.

West Penn MLS filed its motion to stay the case on Wednesday,  noting that it has opted into the nationwide commission lawsuit settlement agreement reached by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In the motion, West Penn MLS said that it is seeking a stay until Judge Stephen Bough, who is overseeing the Sitzer/Burnett trial, issues his decision on the final approval of NAR’s settlement.

The plaintiffs in the suit immediately fired back, claiming that granting the motion to stay “would cause significant prejudice to Plaintiffs, would not serve judicial efficiency, and would not significantly alter the ultimate burden on West Penn MLS.”

Additionally, the plaintiffs took issue with the business practice changes outlined in NAR’s settlement agreement. In their response filing, the plaintiffs claim that the removal of offers of compensation from the MLS would not do anything to prevent the sharing of such information among agents and brokers.

“As a result, a key element of the antitrust conspiracy will not be halted, but simply driven underground where it will be harder to document and harder to stop through the antitrust laws in the future. The United States Department of Justice, for one, finds that insufficient,” the response states, while citing statements made by DOJ attorney Jessica Leal at a hearing for the Nosalek commission lawsuit.

Judge Stickman did not comment on the plaintiffs’ claims about NAR’s settlement agreement.

Originally filed in December 2023 in Pennsylvania, the Moratis lawsuit accuses real estate industry players of colluding to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions and it takes aim at NAR’s Participation Rule, which requires listing agents to make a blanket offer of compensation to buyer’s agents in order to list a property on a Realtor affiliated MLS.

West Penn MLS did not return a request for comment.

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