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Plaintiffs in anti-trust suit allege NAR, brokerages are making untimely document requests

Plaintiffs seek to forbid late document requests in class-action anti-trust lawsuit

It has been a busy week for the National Association of Realtors and Anywhere (formerly known as Realogy and referred to as such in the suit and on-going legal proceedings) on the anti-trust lawsuit front.

The latest: plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed a motion on Tuesday forbidding defendants “untimely third-party document requests and opposition to defendants’ motion to excuse their violation of this court’s discovery order.”

The case, known as Moehrl after its lead plaintiff, deals with what the plaintiffs refers to as the Realtor association’s “buyer broker commission rule.” They argue that this rule, which requires listing brokers to offer buyer brokers a commission to list a property in a Realtor-affiliated MLS, aim to maintain artificially high real estate commissions.

Defendants in the suit include NAR, Realogy, HomeServices of America, RE/MAX and Keller Williams.

In the motion, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants sent out six separate subpoenas, with production dates falling “well after” the established Oct. 6, 2022 document discovery deadline. According to the plaintiffs this deadline had been set nearly a year prior. Two of the subpoenas, sent to REX and West Penn Multi-List, were specifically for documents, while the other four concerned depositions closely related to document.

The plaintiffs argue that the subpoenas contradict a statement made by the defendants at a Sept. 15 hearing, which claimed they were “still operating under a schedule where the parties are due to finish fact discovery by October 6th.”

According to the filing, on Sept. 29, the plaintiffs requested that the defendants withdraw their improper document request. After conferring on the afternoon of Sept. 30, the plaintiffs motion states that the “defendants filed their own motion [to excuse their violation of the court’s discovery order] only two hours after that conference concluded.”

In their filing, the defendants argue that the potential relevance of this discovery only “came to light in the last few weeks after Plaintiffs served their expert rebuttal reports.”

“These decisions address issues common in this phase of the litigation and have nothing to do with the underlying merits of the case. We remain confident we will ultimately prevail. Local broker marketplaces create highly competitive markets, empower small businesses, and ensure equitable home ownership opportunities, superior customer service and greater cost options for all buyers and sellers,” Mantill Williams, NAR’s VP of communications, wrote in an email.

REX, Realogy, and HomeServices of America had not returned a request for comment by the time of publication. Spokespersons for Keller Williams and RE/MAX stated that it is company policy to not comment on ongoing litigation.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include commentary from NAR’s VP of communications.