One of two REBNY commission suits withdrawn

Lead plaintiff voluntarily dismissed case without prejudice

One of Two REBNY Commission Suits Withdrawn
REBNY president James Whelan (Photo via REBNY; Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

The Real Estate Board of New York has one fewer lawsuit to worry about.

Lead plaintiff Robert Friedman voluntarily dismissed without prejudice a lawsuit he filed regarding commissions last week, HousingWire reported. The move, which came only weeks after filing, means Friedman can refile the lawsuit at a later date.

The suit echoed claims by homesellers in a slew of other class action cases against the National Association of Realtors over rules concerning commission payments to brokers. Friedman claimed commissions in the 2021 sale of his Park Slope home were artificially inflated by a REBNY rule similar to NAR’s Participation Rule, which requires the listing broker to split a commission with the buyer broker.

Before the case was filed — and shortly before NAR headed to trial in the Sitzer/Burnett case — REBNY updated its rules to bar listing brokers from paying buyer brokers as of Jan. 1. 

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Other defendants in the Friedman case included a plethora of residential brokerages, including Compass, The Agency and Christie’s International Real Estate.

None of the parties involved commented to HousingWire regarding the dismissal. Voluntarily dismissing a case without prejudice may signal that settlement talks are being held behind the scenes.

REBNY still has other fires to put out in regards to commission cases. In November, a class-action complaint was filed on behalf of homeseller Monty March against REBNY and 26 firms that allegedly inflated commissions by way of its rules requiring sellers to pay buyers’ brokers. That case is ongoing.

The federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is considering combining some of the antitrust broker commission cases across the country into one district, which would lead into pre-trial discovery. The March lawsuit is named in the motion.

Holden Walter-Warner

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