Three major Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) – California Regional MLS (CRMLS), Bright MLS, and Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) – have reached a settlement in a longstanding lawsuit challenging the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Clear Cooperation policy.
The ongoing legal battle began in 2020, with ThePLS.com as the plaintiff. While the mega MLSs have opted for resolution, NAR remains a defendant in the lawsuit.
What is the Pocket Listing Lawsuit?
The lawsuit, initiated by ThePLS.com, revolves around NAR’s Clear Cooperation policy, implemented in 2019. This policy mandates MLS participants to share publicly marketed listings within 24 hours.
ThePLS.com, which launched in 2017, is a platform focused on pocket listings – properties not necessarily intended for public MLS exposure. In 2020, the PLS contested NAR’s policy in court, claiming it to be anticompetitive.
In a joint filing on January 24, 2024, the CRMLS, Bright MLS, and MRED, along with plaintiff ThePLS.com, informed the U.S. District Court that they reached a “settlement in principle.” The MLS defendants requested a stay of deadlines to finalize the agreement, which was granted by Judge John W. Holcomb the following day.
While the major MLSs in the case have settled, NAR continues to face legal challenges in this case. Another pocket listing case against NAR, brought by Top Agent Network, also remains ongoing. In addition, NAR continues to face numerous copycat commission lawsuits in the wake of the Sitzer/Burnett verdict.