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Five local brokerages replace Anywhere affiliates in Pennsylvania commission lawsuit

Plaintiffs and defendants listed in the Spring Way suit changed after an amended complaint was filed

The Pennsylvania copycat commission lawsuit has some new defendants and a new plaintiff. In an amended complaint filed on Friday, home sellers Danielle and Jessie Kay (who sold a house in Baden, Pennsylvania, in December 2021 with the help of an agent from Realty One Group Gold Standard) were added as a plaintiff.

The Kays join John and Nancy Moratis in the suit that was originally filed in early December 2023 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Formerly named plaintiffs Spring Way Center, which the suit was named after, and Nancy Wehrheim have been removed from the suit.

As for the defendants, real estate brokerages River Point Realty, Bovard-Anderson, Priority Realty, Rubinoff Realty Services and Found It PA were added in the amended complaint. The other defendants in the lawsuit are West Penn MLS, a local broker-owned MLS that is not affiliated with the National Association of Realtors; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty; Howard Hanna; NextHome PPM Realty; NextHome Dynamic; Realty One Group Gold Standard; Realty One Group Platinum; and Realty One Group Horizon.

The addition of the five local brokerages is not the only recent change to the list of defendants. On Wednesday of last week, the plaintiffs filed a document that voluntarily dismissed the two Anywhere Real Estate affiliates, Coldwell Banker Realty and Piatt Sothebys International Realty, that were named in the original suit. The two firms were dismissed due to the settlement agreement reached by Anywhere in the Sitzer-Burnett, Moehrl, and Nosalek suits, which is awaiting final approval.

Like the original complaint, the amended complaint focuses on a West Penn MLS rule that is similar to NAR’s Participation Rule, which requires listing brokers to make a blanket offer of compensation to the buyer’s broker in order to list the property on the MLS. The suit alleges that the defendants have used this rule in order to collude to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions.

“Thus, while many (if not all) of West Penn MLS’s officers and directors have some association with NAR, West Penn MLS itself is not owned or controlled by any state or local REALTOR association. West Penn MLS and its subscribers/members, therefore, were not required to implement the rules and practices at issue in this action,” the filing reads. “Defendants have nevertheless adopted, participated in, and enforced their own version of the Buyer Broker Commission Rule. Together with the rules and practices that support its implementation and enforcement, the Rule amounts to a scheme to fix the price for buyer broker services at a supra-competitive level.”

The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial, as well as damages and injunctive relief.

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