Jury finds NAR, brokerages guilty of conspiring to inflate commissions
After two weeks of testimony the Kansas City jury found NAR, HomeServices and Keller Williams guilty of collusion

October 31, 2023, 1:05 pm By Brooklee Han and Sarah Wheeler

A Kansas City jury has found the National Association of Realtors, HomeServices of America and Keller Williams guilty of colluding to inflate or maintain high commission rates through NAR’s Clear Cooperation Rule, in the Sitzer/Burnett buyer broker commission lawsuit.

The defendants have been ordered to pay damages of $1.78 billion.

The jury reached its verdict after a little over two weeks of testimony from the plaintiffs and defendants. During their testimony, the home seller plaintiffs and their lead attorney Michael Ketchmark argued that despite the defendants having antitrust rules and regulations in place, the trade group and corporate brokerages knowingly violated their own rules in order to maintain high commission rates.

Judge Stephen Bough, who is overseeing the suit, still needs to issue his final judgement on the case, before the verdict is final.

The class action antitrust lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2019, also included RE/MAX and Anywhere as defendants, however the two reached settlements in this suit as well as the two other commission lawsuits, Moehrl and Nosalek, in September.

Darryl Frost, a spokesperson for Keller Williams, said the crucial evidence was not allowed to be entered.

We are disappointed that before the jury decided this case, the court did not allow them to hear crucial evidence that cooperative compensation is permitted under Missouri law,” he said in a statement following the verdict. “This is not the end. Keller Williams followed the law regarding cooperative compensation and stands by the evidence presented on the 100-year-old practice of sellers’ agents offering commissions to other agents who help market and sell homes. Looking forward, we will consider all options as we assess the verdict and trial record, including avenues of appeal.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day.

Source: "Missouri jury finds NAR, brokerages guilty of conspiring to inflate commissions - HousingWire"