BAM Key Details: 

  • A home builder and magazine publisher are suing Texas Realtor associations and 20+ brokerages and seeking class action certification on behalf of all home sellers in Texas between 1/1/2021 and 3/29/23.
  • The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is not named as a defendant, though the plaintiffs called out the organization as the “creator of the conspiracy.” 

A new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is targeting Texas Realtor associations, along with 20+ brokerages, MLSs, and real estate teams. 

Plaintiffs are suing on behalf of all home sellers in Texas who used a defendant or one of their affiliates as a listing broker and paid a buyer agent commission between November 13, 2019 and the present. 

Like Sitzer/Burnett and other commissions lawsuits on the books, the suit alleges a conspiracy on the part of the defendants to inflate commissions through “unlawful collaboration and anticompetitive practices.” 

The plaintiffs are a Texas home builder, QJ Team LLC, and Five Points Holding, LLC—a holding company led by Mark Hulme, a business magazine publisher. 

Who are the defendants?

Though the lawsuit calls out the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as the “creator of the conspiracy” and claims the national association is “at the core” of said conspiracy, NAR is not listed as a defendant. 

Instead, the plaintiffs have chosen to stick with Texas-based entities, including Texas Realtor associations: 

  • the Texas Association of Realtors
  • MetroTex Association of Realtors 
  • Houston Association of Realtors 
  • Austin Board of Realtors
  • San Antonio Board of Realtors

Emily Chenevert, the CEO of the Austin Board of Realtors, declined to comment on pending litigation. 

We will continue to focus our efforts on serving our 20,000-member organization while advocating for the rights of property owners and homebuyers in Central Texas.

Emily Chenevert

Austin Board of Realtors CEO

Also listed as defendants are more than 20 Texas teams or brokerages, including— 

  • Mark Anthony Dimas (individual broker)
  • Hexagon Group
  • The Michael Group
  • Ebby Halliday Real Estate — described by the plaintiffs as “the largest private residential real estate company in Texas by sales volume”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim the involvement of these prominent brokers in the alleged conspiracy is “indispensable” to its continued existence and prosperity. 

The suit also accuses real estate teams Hexagon Group and The Michael Group of acting in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. 

Named defendants also include national brokerage companies: 

  • Side
  • Fathom Realty
  • HomeServices of America
  • Keller Williams

For what class are the plaintiffs seeking damages?

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on behalf of all home sellers in Texas from November 13, 2019 to the present who used one of the defendants or one of their affiliates as a listing broker and paid a buyer agent’s commission. 

Some Texas sellers who sold their homes with a Keller Williams or HomeServices agent are already covered in the Moehrl vs. NAR lawsuit. 

Sellers covered in the new Texas commissions lawsuit sold their homes through the defendants between January 1, 2021 and March 29, 2023. 

A few words from NAR

Though NAR was not named as a defendant in this lawsuit, their VP of communications, Mantill Williams, spoke for the organization in support of the current system of cooperative compensation, defending it as a “longstanding, pro-consumer practice” that “makes efficient, transparent, and accessible marketplaces possible.”

Sellers can sell their home for more and have their home seen by more buyers while buyers have more choices of homes and can afford representation. REALTORS® across the country are continuing to deliver value to their clients day in and day out, helping them to understand their choices and navigate what for many will be the most significant and complex transactions of their lives.

Mantill Williams

NAR VP of Communications

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