Frazier v. Grand Rapids BOR: Michigan Federal Court Rules in Favor of Board in Antitrust Suit

Note: This case is not published in an official reporter and may not be cited as authority.
Consult with counsel before relying on this case.

In Frazier v. Grand Rapids Board of REALTORS®, a district court jury ruled in favor of the Grand Rapids Real Estate Board (Board) in a federal antitrust case challenging a bylaw adopted by the Board. The bylaw provision at issue prescribed the dues obligation of a Designated REALTOR® holding an ownership interest in a referral organization located within the Board's jurisdiction that referred customers on a substantially exclusive basis to the Designated REALTOR®'s office. Computation of the Designated REALTOR®'s dues pursuant to the bylaw took into account those salespeople licensed with such a referral organization.

The plaintiffs, members of the Board and owners of a full service real estate firm, had established a referral office within the Board's jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed suit against the Board challenging the legality of the bylaw provision before any dues had been charged against the Designated REALTOR® on the basis of the referral licensees and before the Board even had an opportunity to determine whether its bylaw would have applied in the plaintiff's situation.

The plaintiffs alleged that the Board's bylaw constituted an unreasonable restraint of trade. The Board successfully refuted this allegation by showing that its dues formula was a reasonable and fair method of allocating the costs of Board services among its members.

In addition to the Board, many members of the Board of Directors which acted to adopt the bylaw in question were also defendants in this lawsuit. They, too, were found by the jury not to have engaged in any violations of the federal antitrust laws.

Frazier v. Grand Rapids Board of REALTORS®, Case No. 81-207 (W.D. Mich. 1983). [Note: This opinion was not published in an official reporter and therefore should not be cited as authority. Please consult counsel before relying on this opinion.]