HomeServices Targets New Trial Date; Keller Williams Charts Path Forward

HomeServices, as the last remaining defendant still fighting the two oldest and most advanced commission lawsuits, will likely have an outsized say in the timing of a potential trial—and appears to have settled on a date.

According to a filing in federal court on Monday, March 25, the company is aiming for a trial starting on January 21, 2025 in the Moehrl case—somewhat later than was scheduled before the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Keller Williams settled. The trial is expected to last at least three weeks, the company said.

Moehrl, which was filed at roughly the same time as Burnett, is significantly larger in scope than that case, with potential damages in the tens of billions

While the judge did not officially set a trial date, she did allow HomeServices more time for pre-trial motions and actions, with the company saying it had originally planned to split some of the work with NAR.

Another much more unexpected and tragic turn of events is also potentially part of the reason for the trial being pushed back, as one of HomeServices’ expert witnesses, former Mortgage Banker Association President Dave Stevens, passed away suddenly earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.

“The Parties will meet and confer on next steps in light of this development and will report to the Court,” attorneys for both plaintiffs and HomeServices wrote in the filing.

Separately in the Burnett case, which HomeServices also continues to fight, the company suffered another defeat, with the judge in that lawsuit denying an attempt to have the class de-certified based on supposed flaws in expert testimony at the trial.

HomeServices had argued that Dr. Craig Schulman, who used a comparative analysis between the United States and Australia attempting to show that commissions are inflated based on NAR rules, failed to show a uniform or significant injury to class members.

“The Court agrees with Plaintiffs that ‘Dr. Schulman was able to calculate the specific amount of damages for each class home sale transaction (so his)…analysis did not rely on averages or inferences, but rather…was a result of careful review of each and every class transaction,’” the judge wrote.

Plaintiffs are currently seeking to levy a $4.7 billion judgment against HomeServices in that case.

Keller Williams “Virtual Open House” looks past settlements

Also on Monday, Keller Williams—which previously settled the Moehrl and Burnett cases for $70 million—hosted a Virtual Open House, led by CEO Mark Willis; Jason Abrams, head of industry and learning; Wendi Harrelson, president of KW RI-owned regions; and Jay Papasan, vice president of strategic content. 

The forefront of the panel addressed speculation and pressing questions from agents surrounding the latest NAR settlement and potential commission rule changes that will soon follow.

Abrams noted that “everyone’s a little more worried than they should be,” explaining that if agents can know and convey their value—remaining transparent, which KW explained is the point of the suit, which much of the mainstream media misunderstood—agents will be just fine, and maybe even “better than ever.”

NAR is unsure how settlements will be handled up to this point, in other words, whether fees will increase or not is unknown, even though they claimed that 2024 will not experience a change.

Most notably, Abrams claimed that Keller Williams agents will not be relied upon in regard to helping pay the franchisor’s own $70 million settlement fee, just as they did not push for agents/franchisees to do during the last $40 million settlement for alleged TCPA violations.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top