Legal Case Summaries

Case summaries are provided for educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for legal advice by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Case law may change over time, so be sure to confirm a case is still good law. 

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In 1981 the Court of Appeals of Ohio addressed whether the drafting of a real estate sales contract by a broker constituted the unauthorized practice of law, thus voiding a contract and relieving the seller from paying a commission. The court held that although the drafting of the contract was the unauthorized practice of law, the broker did not attempt to collect anything for legal services...

In U.S. v. Realty Multi-List, the Fifth Circuit addressed membership criteria in relation to multiple listing services. The court held that the membership criteria of an MLS with market power will be deemed facially unreasonable unless justified by the legitimate competitive needs of the association, and narrowly tailored to that end.

Realty Multi-List (RML) was organized in 1967 by...

Nestle' named Coldwell Banker (Coldwell) as its exclusive agent to find a tenant for its commercial property. After the exclusive listing expired on June 1, 1977, the property was placed on an "open listing." On August 11, 1977, Coldwell, acting in concert with Allen Morris Company (AMC), another brokerage firm, showed the building to Scripto's vice-president for operations,...

In Multiple Listing Service of Jackson v. Century 21 Cantrell Real Estate, the Supreme Court of Mississippi addressed whether a private organization may discipline its members for violations of its standards of professional conduct. The court held that a voluntary association may discipline members, but that before a fine can be levied, there must be a schedule of maximum fines to which each...

In McLain v. Real Estate Board of New Orleans, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed whether alleged real estate commission price-fixing was activity within the scope of interstate commerce sufficient to be challenged under the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Court held that a conspiracy regarding commissions can have the requisite effect upon interstate commerce to confer subject matter jurisdiction....

In McCarrick v. Polonia Federal S. & L. Ass'n, a federal District Court in Pennsylvania addressed alleged violations of 12 U.S.C. section 2607 (section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA)). The court held that the defendant was not liable for RESPA violations, as the actions taken by the plaintiff's real estate broker constituted services, not kickbacks,...

In State v. Hossan-Maxwell, the Supreme Court of Connecticut addressed list back agreements under the Connecticut State Antitrust Act. The court held that list back agreements constitute tying arrangements, which when coupled with other prerequisites, become per se violations of the Act.

In 1966, Hartnett recorded a "Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions" on parcels of...

In Hilgendorf v. Hague, the Supreme Court of Iowa addressed a dispute between a broker and a vendor regarding the vendor’s breach of a listing agreement. The court held that the vendor had the power, but not the right, to terminate the agreement, and that the broker could recover damages rather than a commission.

Hague owned tracts of land consisting of 200, 160, and 80 acres. In...

In Foster v. West Alexandria Properties, the district court addressed tying arrangements concerning the sale of condominiums and the use of a particular management company. The court held that a condominium unit and management service were one integrated product, so no tying arrangement or antitrust violation occurred.

In 1976, Foster and Lawson each purchased a condominium unit from...

In Wells v. Mobile Co. Board of REALTORS®, the Alabama Supreme Court considered whether agreements to arbitrate future disputes violate public policy. The case involved a commission dispute between sales associates.

Reeves and Powles, who both worked for Reeves Realty, Inc., filed a Request for Arbitration with the Mobile County Board of REALTORS® (Board)....

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