The Hamptons’ Simpson drops suit against OREX, Corcoran, Elliman

By Candace Taylor | August 08, 2009 12:41PM

George Simpson has withdrawn the lawsuit he filed in March against 25 East End real estate firms and brokers, and the Web-based listings exchange system Open RealNet Exchange, or OREX.

Simpson, owner of competing data service Suffolk Research Service, and his wife, Jean, a broker, alleged in the suit that OREX and the brokers who use it violate anti-monopoly laws.

Simpson said he couldn’t reveal the details about why he withdrew the suit, but said he plans to continue his campaign against OREX.    

“We’re not through,” he said. “There will be additional actions.”

Simpson’s suit, which named the Corcoran Group and Prudential Douglas Elliman as defendants, sought $18 million in damages.

OREX and its accompanying internal data management system, RealNet, charges members around $40,000 a year, which is too expensive for many small firms, the suit claimed. OREX also lets members choose which firms will receive their listings, which leads to the exclusion of some brokers, the suit claimed.

“Had we continued with that lawsuit we would have prevailed,” Simpson said. “We’re at a point where we want to regroup.”

The case had drawn attention to the Hamptons, one of the few real estate markets in the country without a functioning multiple listings service. New York City is another such market.

“This lawsuit has generated a huge amount of interest and support, especially among the brokers who have been hurt by this,” Simpson said.

Corcoran and Elliman could not immediately be reached for comment.