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Howard Hanna dismissed from Batton II commission lawsuit

The firm was voluntarily dismissed after not serving an answer or filing a motion for summary judgement

The homebuyer plaintiffs in the Batton II commission lawsuit in Illinois made the decision to voluntarily dismiss defendant Howard Hanna Real Estate Services from the lawsuit without prejudice.

In a document filed on Monday with U.S. District Court Judge Andrea Wood, the plaintiffs, which include Mya Batton, Aaron Bolton, Michael Brace, Do Yeon Irene Kim, Anna James, James Mullis, and Theodore Bisbicos, noted that they are dismissing Howard Hanna Real Estate Services as the firm has yet to serve and answer or file a motion for summary judgement.

Howard Hanna Real Estate declined to comment on the development.

The Batton II suit is the second lawsuit filed by this group of homebuyers. This second lawsuit was filed in early November, just days after the verdict in the Sitzer/Burnett commission lawsuit in Missouri. While the suit pertains to homebuyers and not sellers, the issue of real estate agent compensation is central to the suit.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that they as homebuyers paid too much to purchase their homes; they allege they were unable to negotiate the compensation paid to their agent.

The Batton II suit is not the only commission lawsuit Howard Hanna has been named as a defendant. Last week, the firm’s parent company, Hanna Holding filed a motion to dismiss itself from the Umpa commission lawsuit in Missouri.

In mid-February, HomeServices of America was dismissed by Wood from Batton I, the original lawsuit filed by this group of plaintiffs. In her ruling Wood $5.36 billion Sitzer/Burnett verdict, in which the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Keller Williams and HomeServices affiliates were found to have conspired to inflate or stabilize commissions paid by sellers.

“To the extent a putative class member faces a significant threat of injury from Defendants’ alleged antitrust violations in their capacity as a buyer, they would likely be simultaneously exposed to injury as a seller too — i.e., they would be threatened with the same injury as that suffered by the home seller class certified in Moehrl and Burnett,” Wood wrote.

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