Douglas Elliman released from homebuyers commission suit

Brokerage joins Howard Hanna, HomeServices of America in Batton II exit

Douglas Elliman Released from Homebuyers Commission Suit
Douglas Elliman's Howard Lorber (Getty)

Douglas Elliman is now the second residential brokerage to escape from a prominent homebuyers commission lawsuit.

Elliman was released from Batton II because the firm had “not yet served either an answer or a motion for summary judgment,” the plaintiffs said, Inman reported. Elliman joins Howard Hanna and HomeServices of America as brokerages voluntarily dismissed from the dual Batton lawsuits.

Elliman was dismissed from the case without prejudice, according to HousingWire, meaning the claims against the brokerage can be refiled down the road.

The plaintiffs of Batton II filed their lawsuit immediately after the the jury in Sitzer/Burnett dealt a seismic defeat for the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America. Unlike Sitzer/Burnett and many of the commissions suits of recent months, Batton II pertains to homebuyers, rather than homesellers, but otherwise follows along similar lines.

The plaintiffs allege they were overcharged in the purchase of their homes, arguing they couldn’t negotiate the compensation paid to their agent.

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Other defendants in Batton II include Compass, eXp World Holdings, Redfin, Weichert Realtors and United Real Estate. Elliman did not respond to Inman’s request for comment.

In April, Elliman announced it would pay $7.75 million, and later $10 million more pending financial performance, to settle claims from homesellers that it conspired to inflate commissions and violate antitrust laws. 

NAR and a number of brokerages were named as defendants in copycat legal action after a guilty verdict in the landmark Sitzer/Burnett case centered on the trade group’s rules coupling commission offers for buyer and seller brokers. 

The settlement was intended to mitigate legal costs and uncertainties, chairman Howard Lorber in a statement. The company said in a release the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

The deal was a reversal of the brokerage’s previously expressed plans to challenge the litigation. It joined HomeServices of America, Compass and NAR itself among those settling the landmark litigation.— Holden Walter-Warner

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