In both of the following antitrust cases from the past year, the court said there was no evidence that the real estate professionals were conspiring to fix fees or otherwise harm the market.
1. Hyland v. HomeServices of Am., Inc., 771 F. 3d 310 (6th Cir. 2014)
Brokers did not conspire to fix commissions.
The plaintiffs claimed that brokers colluded to fix commissions at an uncompetitive rate. Some evidence suggested that these brokers charging a lower commission were harassed or mistreated, but that evidence was not enough to prove that they were fixing commission rates. The court also considered other evidence, including consistent commission rates, available rate information, and possible commission-fixing motives. The court determined that this evidence also did not show commission fixing occurred. The court ruled in favor of the brokers against the plaintiffs.
2. Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. v. American Home Realty Network, DKC 12–0954, 2015 WL 4597529 (D. Md. July 6, 2015)
National Association of REALTORS® did not orchestrate a conspiracy to boycott American Home Realty Network.
Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (“MRIS”) provides an online multiple listing service to agents and brokers. American Home Realty Network (“AHRN”) is a real estate brokerage referral service. After MRIS sued AHRN for a copyright violation, AHRN countersued MRIS and NAR. AHRN claimed that NAR orchestrated a conspiracy with MLSs and licensees to boycott AHRN. AHRN’s attempt to present evidence of a conspiracy failed. AHRN could not show any agreement or any communication between NAR and licensees promoting an AHRN boycott. The court granted NAR’s motion for summary judgment, finding that there was nothing unlawful about NAR supporting and sharing information with MLSs that were considering legal action against AHRN.
B. Statutes and Regulations
No statutes or regulations regarding antitrust issues were retrieved in the past year.
C. Volume of Materials Retrieved
Three antitrust cases were retrieved this past year, two of which were retrieved this quarter (see Table 1). No antitrust statutes or regulations were retrieved this year.