New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. v. NEWMLS: MLS Dispute in New Jersey

In August 1998, the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (“NJMLS”) filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division - Bergen County, against NEWMLS, doing business as the Garden State Multiple Listing Service (“GSMLS”) and the real estate brokerage firms which own GSMLS. NJMLS is owned by the Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS®, Inc. and the West Bergen Association of REALTORS®, Inc. GSMLS is owned primarily by four large brokerages, Burgdorff/ERA REALTORS®, Coldwell Banker/Schlott REALTORS®, The Prudential New Jersey Realty and Weichert REALTORS®, Inc. (hereinafter together referred to as the “Four Brokerages”).

NJMLS alleges that GSMLS has engaged in predatory conduct to force real estate brokers to join GSMLS, with the ultimate goal of putting NJMLS out of business. The NJMLS complaint asserts that GSMLS has violated antitrust laws and engaged in unfair competition, deceptive advertising, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with existing and prospective economic advantage and breach of implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. GSMLS and the Four Brokerages have not yet filed a response in this matter.

On August 21st, the court issued an Order to Show Cause with Temporary Restraints which requires that the Four Brokerages continue to post their Bergen County listings with NJMLS until a full hearing on the merits of plaintiffs claims can be held.

New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, Inc. v. NEWMLS, No. BER-C-23698 (Sup. Ct. of N.J. August 21, 1998). [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.]