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New Orleans litigator files commission lawsuit against Latter & Blum

The Louisiana brokerage is part of the LeadingRE network and was ranked No. 26 in the country in 2023 by transaction sides

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, home seller plaintiff Joseph C. Peiffer, a prominent lawyer in the Big Easy, accuses local brokerage firm Latter & Blum of colluding to artificially inflate agent commissions.

The lawsuit names the National Association of Realtors and Keller Williams as co-conspirators, but they are not defendants in the suit.

Just as with the other copycat commission lawsuits, the Peiffer suit takes issue with NAR’s Participation Rule, which requires listing brokers to make a blanket offer of compensation to buyer’s brokers in order to list a property on the MLS.

“There is no pro-competitive justification for Latter & Blum and its co-conspirators’ agreement to such rules and related conduct; to the contrary, the agreement’s purpose and effect is to restrain competition,” the complaint read. “The unlawful restraints implemented and enforced by the conspirators have benefitted Latter & Blum and its co-conspirators and furthered their common goals by allowing brokers to impose supra-competitive charges on home sellers in Louisiana and restrain competition by forestalling competition from lower-priced alternatives.”

Peiffer, an attorney who specializes in class-action litigation, claims that as a result of this alleged conspiracy, home sellers have “paid an inflated and fixed rate for services provided to their contractual counterparty,” and that they have “each incurred, on average, thousands of dollars in improper charges as a result of the conspiracy.”

The lawsuit is seeking class action status for anyone who has used Latter & Blum as listing broker for sale of a home on an MLS in Louisiana and paid a buyer broker commission between March 5, 2020, and the present. The plaintiff is demanding damages, a permanent injunction and a jury trial.

Latter & Blum did not return a request for comment. The brokerage is part of the LeadingRE network. In 2023, it ranked as the No. 26 firm in the RealTrends 500 for transaction sides, after its agents closed 16,658 transaction sides in 2022.

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