LegalReal Estate

Judge grants response for MLS PIN, Nosalek plaintiffs

The parties have until March 28 to file their responses to the DOJ’s statement of interest in the Nosalek suit

Boston-based U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris will allow the Nosalek commission lawsuit plaintiffs and MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) defendants to file a response to the Department of Justice’s statement of interest.

In late February, MLS PIN and the plaintiffs filed a joint motion asking Saris for permission to file separate responses to the DOJ’s mid-February filing.

In their motion, the parties wrote that they “dispute the factual and legal arguments made in the DOJ’s Statement of Interest.”

The DOJ’s statement was in relation to the settlement agreement reached between the Nosalek plaintiffs and MLS PIN in July 2023. Since the initial filing, the plaintiffs and MLS PIN have filed two amended agreements in order to appease the DOJ, which first became involved in the suit in early October 2023.

In its statement of interest, the DOJ advocated for the prohibition of cooperative compensation, meaning that “sellers would be responsible for determining only the compensation of their own broker in the listing contract … [and] buyers would be responsible for determining the compensation of their own broker in a buyer-broker representation contract.”

The DOJ argued that changes similar to those proposed in the settlement agreement — including the lowering of the required compensation amount to $0 or abandoning the requirement for listing brokers to make a blanket offer of compensation to the buyer’s broker in order to list on the MLS — have done nothing to decrease agent commissions.

“Preventing sellers and listing agents from setting buyer-broker commissions would promote greater price competition and innovation in the market for brokers’ services,” the DOJ argued.

The parties have until March 28 to file their responses. Saris will have to reopen the lawsuit, after she stayed the case pending action by a multidistrict litigation panel, which is set to decide this spring if nine of the commission lawsuits can consolidate.

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