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Court orders REX to give Zillow list of laid off employees who kept laptops

Latest in anti-trust lawsuit saga between REX, Zillow, and NAR

In the ongoing saga of REX Real Estate versus the National Association of Realtors and Zillow, a federal court has ordered REX to turn over to Zillow a list of employees who have left REX and also kept a REX-issued laptop.

Judge Thomas Zilly wrote in the order: “Plaintiffs should categorize that list by last name and last position held at REX. Plaintiff should have ready access to this information, and it is proportional to the needs of the case.”

The U.S. District Court in Seattle issued the order due to a request from Zillow after reports surfaced stating that employees impacted by layoffs at the brokerage were allowed to keep their laptops and other pieces of company technology as severance. In addition, there were reports that one employee wiped potential evidence from her REX-issued laptop that she retained as severance.

In response to Zillow’s motion to compel, the brokerage stated that the request was a “fishing expedition” that aimed to embarrass the company before the court.

In the motion, Zillow asked the court to force REX to provide a list of employees who have left the firm since January 2021 and state if they had been allowed to keep their company-issued laptop. However, in the order, Zilly narrowed the request to a list of employees who had both left REX and retained their company laptop.

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision requiring REX to fully participate in the discovery process and fulfill its obligations to protect and produce relevant information and documents related to this litigation,” a Zillow spokesperson wrote in an email.

REX filed an anti-trust lawsuit against NAR and Zillow in March 2021 for a NAR rule known as the no-commingling rule, that prompted Zillow to separate non-MLS listings from MLS listings on its website, including listings from REX.

In the ensuing months, NAR has filed its own countersuit alleging that the brokerage makes false and misleading claims to deceive consumers. The countersuit was dismissed in early May.

A few weeks later, REX laid off most of its remaining employees. In an email, CEO Jack Ryan and COO Lynley Sides, who co-founded the brokerage, urged most agents to hang their sales license elsewhere, and announced the closing of the firm’s physical offices in Austin and Woodland Hills, California.

REX Real Estate did not return a request for comment at the time of publication.