BAM Key Details:

  • Three new lawsuits in the real estate industry have been filed, including the Tuccori case in Illinois, the Friedman case in New York and the Masiello case in Arizona.
  • The Tuccori case, filed by a homebuyer, alleges collusion within the real estate industry to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions.
  • The Friedman and Masiello cases were both name home seller plaintiffs, and they allege an antitrust conspiracy among major residential real estate firms to inflate commissions. 

Even with requests to consolidate industry commission lawsuits in place, copycat suits continue to pop up across the county. 

Three more have recently been added to the list:

  • Tuccori case in Illinois; Homebuyer plaintiff
  • Friedman case in New York; Home seller plaintiff
  • Masiello case in Arizona; Home seller plaintiff

Read on for the details. 

Tuccori in Illinois

Illinois homebuyer James Toccori first filed a case in December and on January 5, 2024, moved the filing to the U.S. District Court. Unlike the majority of copycat lawsuits with home seller plaintiffs, this one joins Batton 1 and Batton 2 in seeking damages for homebuyers

The complaint states, “There is no pro-competitive benefit to the conspiracy. Defendant and its coconspirators have effectively maintained and significantly raised the financial costs of buyerbroker commissions, despite the diminishing role of such buyer-brokers due to the emergence of third-party listing websites.”

Similar to the other commission lawsuits, Tuccori claims collusion within the real estate industry took place to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions. The defendant in this case is At World Properties, the parent company of @properties Chirstie’s International real Estate. 

The Tuccori suit is seeking national and Illinois class-action status for anyone who purchased a home listed on a NAR-affiliated MLS since March 2000 and used At World buyer or seller agent. This is the fourth commission lawsuit filed in Illinois, making it the state with the highest number of industry suits (Moehrl, Batton 1, Batton 2, Tuccori). 

Friedman in New York

The Friedman complaint was filed on Friday, December 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York by home seller and New York resident Robert Friedman. 

Defendants for the Friedman case in New York include:

  • Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
  • Douglas Elliman
  • Christie’s International Real Estate
  • The Corcoran Group
  • Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates
  • Brown Harris Stevens
  • Serhant
  • Compass
  • Nest Seekers
  • The Agency RE
  • Elegran
  • Engel & Volkers New York Real Estate
  • R New York
  • Anywhere Real Estate
  • Terra Holdings
  • Leslie J. Garfield & Co.

The suit alleges that there is an “antitrust conspiracy among major residential real estate firms” that artificially inflated prices for real estate agent commissions for listings in REBNY RLS. 

The complaint states that while residential properties listed with REBNY require the Seller Broker to offer compensation to the Buyer Broker, listings on the Brooklyn MLS do not. This is the second complaint of this nature filed in New York, with the first being the March complaint filed in November 2023.  

Masiello in Arizona

The first copycat lawsuit in Arizona, the Masiello complaint was filed by home seller Joseph Masiello on January 5 in U.S. District Court. It alleges that “rules created by the National Association of REALTORS® (“NAR”)—and implemented and enforced by Defendants in Arizona—compel home sellers to pay inflated commissions to the home buyer’s broker, even though the buyer’s broker does not represent the seller.” 

Defendants for the Masiello case in Arizona include:

  • Arizona Association of Realtors
  • The Phoenix Association of Realtors
  • Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors
  • West and Southeast Realtors of the Valley, Inc.
  • Tucson Association of Realtors, Inc.
  • HomeSmart Holdings, Inc.
  • My Home Group, LLC
  • Realty One Group Arizona, Inc.
  • West USA Realty, Inc.
  • Hague Partners Holdings, LLC
  • Realty Executives, LLC
  • Arizona Best Real Estate
  • North&Co.
  • Silverleaf Realty, LLC
  • Retsy, LLC
  • Walty Danley Local Luxury, Christie’s International Real Estate
  • The Brokery
  • Long Realty
  • Tierra Antigua Realty, LLC

The Masiello case seeks class-action status on behalf of home sellers who used any of the defendants to list a home on an Arizona multiple listing service and paid a commission to the buyer’s broker from January 5, 2020, to present.

Other Commission Lawsuit Updates

Along with 13 new copycat lawsuits being filed since the Sitzer/Burnett trial, there have been additional updates regarding industry commission lawsuits this year. 

Consolidation may be coming for copycat lawsuits. A motion presented on December 27, 2023, is being reviewed by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The following cases are being considered for a consolidated lawsuit: Umpa, Gibson, Grace, Burton, Phillips March, Martin, QJ Team and Spring Way Center. 

In regards to the Sitzer/Burnett case, which went to trial and reached a verdict in October 2023, three defendants have requested a new trial. Attorneys for NAR, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America filed motions for judgment and requested a new trial, alleging that mistakes made by the court “marred the jury’s verdict.” Both three defendants also asked Judge Stephen R. Bough to decertify the class action lawsuit, arguing the evidence used in the trial did not meet the standards for antitrust damages. 

Stay up to date on legal battles with BAM’s Industry Lawsuit Watch.