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Brokers Beware, Next Antitrust Liability Target Is your brokerage at risk?

A new class action lawsuit alleges that the National Association of Realtors (NAR), along with some of the largest real estate firms in the nation — RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Realogy Holdings, and HomeServices of America — violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to require home sellers to pay “inflated” brokers’ commissions when listing a home on the multiple listing service (MLS). Moehrl v. Nat’l Ass’n of Realtors, No. 1:19-cv-01610 (N.D. Ill. March 6, 2019).

The complaint, filed March 6, attacks the NAR rule that requires all brokers to offer buyer broker commissions when listing a property on MLS, alleging that the rule drives up costs to sellers and restrains price competition among buyer brokers. The plaintiffs seek billions of dollars in damages, which would be trebled under the federal antitrust laws, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and a permanent injunction preventing further violations.

Liability in these types of cases is potentially catastrophic, and the allegations in the complaint could extend to nearly every broker that abides by the NAR rules and uses MLS. In fact, the complaint alleges that many not-yet-named brokerage companies also conspired with the defendants, making them potential additions to the lawsuit.


©2011-2020 Carlton Fields, P.A. National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 81


About this Author

David B. Esau Shareholder Carlton Fields Trial Lawyer Litigator Global Antitrust Cartel Recovery Practice

David Esau is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer whose practice focuses on worldwide complex antitrust litigation and counseling. David defends companies facing antitrust, unfair competition, and consumer class action claims and government investigations, and leads the firm’s antitrust cartel recovery practice, assisting corporate clients to recover damages from national and international antitrust cartels. David regularly handles matters at both the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts throughout the country. In addition, he has served as national coordinating...

Ilan A. Nieuchowicz Shareholder Carlton Fields Florida  Real Estate, Litigation

Ilan Nieuchowicz is a real estate and business trial lawyer. He represents large financial institutions, equipment loan and leasing companies, major real estate title insurance companies, real estate owners, investors, investment trusts, developers, property managers and management companies, owners and managers of medical and healthcare related real estate and hospitality related businesses.

As a former business broker and transaction attorney, Ilan has a uniquely practical perspective on business and real estate related matters. He has significant experience in real estate and business litigation, title insurance claims and defenses, defalcation, landlord/tenant matters including evictions, real estate broker/agent disputes, escrow claims, foreclosures, quiet title actions, eminent domain, easement and property partition matters. He also handles all aspects of judgment collection including, post-judgment discovery, garnishment proceedings, executions, levies and sales, and proceedings supplementary.

Ilan is a member of the firm’s national trial and real property litigation practice groups. He is also active in the firm’s title insurance, commercial finance, development, hospitality and health care industry groups.