Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

KW settles for $70M

Keller Williams settles Sitzer, Moehrl commission suits for $70M

“If approved by the court, the settlement means Keller Williams will pay substantially less than it could have to resolve Sitzer | Burnett. On Oct. 31, in a historic verdict, a jury found that Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Anywhere, the National Association of Realtors, HomeServices of America and two of its subsidiaries, BHH Affiliates and HSF Affiliates, conspired to inflate broker commission rates paid by homesellers. The jury awarded $1.78 billion in damages to a class of approximately 500,000 Missouri homeowners. If that award stands, it would be trebled by law to more than $5.3 billion.

The deals leave NAR, HomeServices of America and two of its subsidiaries, BHH Affiliates and HSF Affiliates, as the remaining defendants in the case.”

ANDREA V. BRAMBILA, INMAN NEWS

I’ve been thinking about this for the last week and a couple things stand out. I guess you could say it was shrewd of KW to see if the case was won before settling (interesting to think of NAR and BHH/HSF through that lens). Hard to say if the settlement would have been lower if they had settled earlier. But $70M feels about right. BHH/HSF are probably talking longer due to their corporate structure.

That would leave NAR standing alone. People who would know tell me that their case for appeal is pretty strong based on upon the documents being filed by NAR. That may be true, but the genie is out of the bottle. More and more of people I meet and hear I’m “in real estate” ask me about being “over-charged” for commissions. I still think settling (and sooner than later) is the right move.

  1. People in the know…. those still drinking kool aid and hoping scandal ridden magic mushrooms work like witches’ brews you mean. NAR has not got a chance and it cannot afford the bond. The only option is bankruptcy but the longer they wait teh fewer “perks” can be clawed back from officers et al (what can we sell Kenny’s motorbikes for you think?)

  2. You know it must be a bad appeal case when even those that were accused of pushing Kool-Aid for years are settling and anointing NAR’s minions as the new Kool-Aid pushers.

  3. For the companies that settle, how much protection do they get in the future? There are 50 states. Are these companies still on the hook for more money in subsequent copycat lawsuits?

    An argument can be made that settling in part, opened the floodgates to subsequent ambulance chasers looking for a buck.

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