Logue vs. Pennsylvania real estate players
Pennsylvania homeowner Thomas Logue filed a class action lawsuit in April 2010, alleging that a group of real estate brokerages and a local MLS (and its board of directors) conspired to keep broker commissions artificially high by limiting competition among companies, according to court documents. The area real estate companies stifled competition by keeping some rival businesses from effectively marketing properties, blocking discount brokers from listing in the MLS, alleges the suit, which Logue’s attorneys say caused him to pay more than was necessary to list his home in 2006.
This summer, a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement in the case was approved by the judge after denying a motion to dismiss by the defendants, laying the ground for this week’s approval of a settlement in the amount of $2.4 million, of which Logue’s attorneys will receive $1 million and Logue will receive $10,000. Court documents do not reveal the number of buyers that will split the remaining $1.39 million.
Logue filed the lawsuit against West Penn Multilist Inc., Howard Hanna Real Estate, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Freeman Realty, Northwood Realty and Prudential Preferred Realty regarding purchases through these companies between February 13, 2005 and February 13, 2009.
Anti-trust laws were established in the 1800s to protect consumers from cartels and monopolies, which this case showed was in play on the Pennsylvania real estate scene. MLS companies have long struggled with business rules that dictate what is legitimate and what is not, and in this case, the judge agreed to this $2.4 million settlement alleging the brokerages and the MLS, along with their board of directors blocked discount brokerages.