In the wake of the Sitzer/Burnett verdict, a new, similar lawsuit — this time on behalf of homebuyers — has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Called Batton 2, it is a federal, anti-trust suit which names several major real estate companies as defendants: COMPASS, Douglas Elliman, eXp World Holdings, Howard Hanna Real Estate, Redfin, United Real Estate Group and Weichart Realtors. According to the complaint, the homebuyer plaintiffs say those brokerages, along with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), colluded to inflate buyer agent commissions.
The plaintiffs also allege buyer agents steered them away from lower-priced homes which may have offered lower commissions.
While Sitzer/Burnett concerned homesellers, the plaintiffs in Batton 2 are seeking class-action certification to represent all homebuyers who purchased residential real estate through the MLS between Dec. 1, 1996, and Nov. 2, 2023, the date of the filing.
Seven individual plaintiffs are named: Mya Batton, Aaron Batton, Michael Brace, Do Yeon Irene Kim, Anna James, James Mullis and Bisbicos Theodore. In 2021, the same group filed another lawsuit in the same district against the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Anywhere Real Estate, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, HomeServices of America, alleging that NAR rules inflate agent commissions, resulting in higher home prices.
Motions to dismiss that suit, the original Batton, are currently pending.