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BAREIS Secures Victory in Dismissal of Class Action Complaint Alleging Antitrust Law Violations, According to Bartko LLP

BAREIS Secures Victory in Dismissal of Class Action Complaint Alleging Antitrust Law Violations, According to Bartko LLP

SAN FRANCISCO, June 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a May 29, 2024 order, United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., in Grace v. Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc., et al., 23-cv-06352, dismissed the plaintiff’s first amended complaint against Bartko LLP client Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc. (BAREIS). A PDF version of the Order can be accessed here.

As noted in a recent article in Law360, BAREIS is a real estate “multiple listing service,” which serves real estate professionals in the Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, and Mendocino Counties of Northern California. It is an independent MLS, not owned or governed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The plaintiff alleged that BAREIS and other Defendants conspired, in violation of federal and California antitrust law, to require real estate listing brokers to share commissions with a buyer’s broker. Such an action would raise the amount that the seller pays to a broker, in connection with the seller’s home sale. According to the Plaintiff, this conspiracy was effectuated through BAREIS’ MLS rules, specifically Rules 11.2 and 11.5. 

In rejecting the Plaintiff’s allegations, Judge Gilliam held that BAREIS’ rules plainly do not require the listing broker to share compensation with the buyer broker. Therefore, BAREIS’ rules could not form the basis of the conspiracy that the Plaintiff alleged. As Judge Gilliam held, BAREIS’ rules “simply do not on their face require the results Plaintiff alleges they do.” Judge Gilliam felt constrained under Ninth Circuit law to give the Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. However, BAREIS is confident that no viable theory can be asserted against them, and the complaint will ultimately be dismissed with prejudice.

“This decision is remarkable for several reasons,” said Patrick M. Ryan, lead defense counsel for BAREIS. Ryan added, “Given that in October 2023, class-action plaintiffs in Missouri who made similar allegations to those that Plaintiff made here, achieved a $1.7 billion verdict (which trebled would be $5.1 billion), Judge Gilliam could have easily decided to allow this complaint to go forward. We are, however, gratified that he examined the complaint carefully, and agreed with us, that it had no merit.”  Ryan also added, “The decision is also remarkable because we believe that it is the only dismissal of any class action complaint brought by sellers, alleging that defendants conspired to raise real estate commissions.” 

The Defendant is represented by Bartko LLP, a top litigation boutique. The team, led by Patrick M. Ryan, also includes Jack McLean and Jason A. Zweig.

The Plaintiff is represented by Jill Manning, Daniel Warshaw, Bobby Pouya, Naveed Abaie, and Eric Mont of Pearson Warshaw LLP, as well as Douglas Millen, Robert Wozniak, and Matthew Ruan of Freed Kanner London & Millen, LLC.

About Bartko LLP

Established in 1978, Bartko LLP handles complex business trials, IP and trade secret claims, labor negotiations, employment litigation and counseling, as well as real estate transactions and franchise disputes. They win by thinking differently, while their clients cross many industries including healthcare, finance, software, retail, biotech, and real estate.

Jason A. Zweig  |  [email protected]  |  415.291.4505

SOURCE Bartko LLP

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bareis-secures-victory-in-dismissal-of-class-action-complaint-alleging-antitrust-law-violations-according-to-bartko-llp-302166543.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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