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Moehrl trial not likely until January 2025

In a status report filed on Monday, HomeServices of America and the Moehrl plaintiffs pegged a four-week window in January 2025 for a possible trial.

Plaintiffs and defendants in the Moehrl commission lawsuit have waited more than five years for their day in court. Based on the parties’ latest status report, it looks like they will be waiting a bit longer.

In a status report filed on Monday, the plaintiffs and the sole remaining defendant in the suit, HomeServices of America, each indicated they would be available for a three- to four-week trial starting Jan. 21, 2025.

The trial would take place in Chicago at the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division before Judge Andrea R. Wood. In November 2023, Wood indicated that the trial would take place in the fourth quarter of 2024, but the status report findings appear to change the timeline.

Originally filed in March 2019, the Moehrl lawsuit alleges that real estate industry participants including HomeServices, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Anywhere, RE/MAX and Keller Williams conspired to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions. At the center of the lawsuit is NAR’s Participation Rule, which requires listing brokers to make a blanket offer of compensation to the buyer’s broker in order to list a property on a Realtor-affiliated MLS.

The suit obtained class certification in March 2023. The class encompasses home sellers across 20 local MLSs. Damages in the suit could reach $13.7 billion — or $41.1 billion if trebled.

Anywhere, RE/MAX, Keller Williams and NAR have all reached settlement agreements in the Moehrl case and other commission lawsuits, although of the settlement agreements have received final court approval.

On Tuesday, Judge Stephen Bough, who oversaw the Sitzer/Burnett trial in October 2023, denied HomeServices’ motion to decertify the class. HomeServices still has a motion for a new trial and a motion for judgment as a matter of law before the court.

The firm also still has a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, which it filed in early February. In its filing, HomeServices asked for a review of an August 2023 ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court, which found that HomeServices could not enforce arbitration agreements signed by seller clients of its franchisees. The appeals court said that this was because the contracts signed by the sellers were not directly signed by HomeServices.

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