Howard Hanna accuses Compass of poaching agents, stealing trade secrets

Brokerage alleges three agents violated contracts

National /
Apr.April 14, 2021 10:30 AM
Howard Hanna CEO Helen Hanna Casey and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Howard Hanna Casey, Getty)

Howard Hanna CEO Helen Hanna Casey and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Howard Hanna Casey, Getty)

Real estate brokerage Howard Hanna has accused Compass of stealing its agents and trade secrets before going public earlier this month.

An amended complaint filed by the brokerage in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, alleges that Compass encouraged three former Howard Hanna agents to breach their contracts, specifically their non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions, Inman reported.

The complaint does not mince words, accusing Compass of a “no-holds-barred approach” to poaching agents “in order to justify its narrative as a technology firm poised to upend the real estate industry.”

The complaint alleges that one agent, Michael Hornung, emailed himself the profit and loss report for Howard Hanna’s Adams Township/Seven Fields and Butler locations, along with the email addresses of Howard Hanna agents, as well as other reports.

It claims another agent, Jennifer Crouse, tried to transfer one listing from Howard Hanna to Compass. And another, Leah George, is accused of not submitting offers to Howard Hanna listings so she could submit those offers when she was at Compass.

“While we’re disappointed by Howard Hanna’s recently amended complaint we remain unshaken in our belief that real estate agents should have the right to choose their brokerage affiliation,” a Compass spokesperson told Inman.

The allegations are similar to other lawsuits that have been filed against Compass. In April 2019, Zillow sued the brokerage, claiming that the company poaches tech talent and stole trade secrets. A lawsuit from Elegran followed in August 2019, which alleged that Compass stole over $2 million worth of data on over 6,300 prospective clients from the company.

Compass’ long-awaited IPO launched on April 1, with the brokerage raising $450 million. Its shares were trading at just above $18 as of Wednesday morning.

[Inman] — Sasha Jones





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    (iStock/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
    Black mortgage applicants’ rejection disparity surges
    Black mortgage applicants’ rejection disparity surges
    Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman (Redfin, iStock)
    Service divide at forefront of Redfin discrimination suit
    Service divide at forefront of Redfin discrimination suit
    Milo Founder and CEO Josip Rupena (iStock, Milo Credit)
    Crypto-rich but can’t buy a home? Now you can
    Crypto-rich but can’t buy a home? Now you can
    Side's Guy Gal and John Wollberg
    Brown Harris Stevens defector kicks off Side’s entrance into New York
    Brown Harris Stevens defector kicks off Side’s entrance into New York
    Outpaced demand spurred largest decline in 18 months: Redfin (iStock)
    U.S. home sales dropped 11% amid waning supply
    U.S. home sales dropped 11% amid waning supply
    Serhant brings in two Compass teams
    Serhant brings in two Compass teams
    Serhant brings in two Compass teams
    Ulster County, NY (iStock)
    Ulster County home prices spiked 20 percent last year
    Ulster County home prices spiked 20 percent last year
    Ben Hakimian, founder, Hakimian Organization; 244 West 49th Street (Google Maps, KSU)
    Hakimian changes Midtown hotel plans to residential
    Hakimian changes Midtown hotel plans to residential
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...