Missiouri jury rules agianst brokerages and NAR in sitzer burnett commission lawsuit

Missiouri jury rules agianst brokerages and NAR in sitzer burnett commission lawsuit

On October 31, Missouri Jury delivered a verdict in the Sitzer/Burnett buyer broker commission lawsuit (Burnett vs. NAR et. al), ordering the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and several prominent brokerages to pay $1.78 billion in damages. The jury found them guilty of collusion related to buyer broker commissions. This decision concluded a trial that spanned over two weeks, during which the plaintiffs argued that the practice of compelling sellers to provide compensation to buyer’s brokers effectively results in sellers having to cover inflated broker fees.

In the Sitzer/Burnett case, two other defendant brokerages, Anywhere and RE/MAX, had previously announced settlements not only for this case but also for the separate Moerhl class action lawsuit (Moerhl vs. NAR et. al). Following the announcement of the verdict, the plaintiff’s attorneys in the Sitzer/Burnett suit filed a separate lawsuit against several additional brokerages that were not initially defendants in the case.

Judge Stephen Bough is yet to issue the final judgment in the Sitzer/Burnett case based on the jury’s verdict. As reported by Housing Wire, the case defendants have either directly stated or hinted at their intention to appeal the jury’s verdict and seek a reduction in case damages.

The Sitzer/Burnett case is just one of several legal cases in the United States that have the potential to significantly impact the U.S. real estate industry and its handling of commissions in various types of transactions, including relocations. Worldwide ERC (WERC) will diligently monitor these developments and provide updates as they become available.

Michael T. Jackson serves as the vice president responsible for member engagement and public policy at WERC. Meanwhile, Jay Hershman, SCRP, is an attorney affiliated with Baillie and Hershman, P.C. He has also held the position of past chair for WERC’s North American real estate and mortgage policy forum.

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