Nevada joins growing list of states hit with compensation lawsuits – Real Estate News

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A gavel and scales of justice above the Las Vegas skyline.A gavel and scales of justice above the Las Vegas skyline.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

The case originally targeted only NAR and state associations; a week and half later, 15 real estate brokerages were added to the list of defendants.

Updated January 26, 2024

Nevada is the latest state to face a buyer agent commission lawsuit, with a new case targeting the largest associations and MLSs in the state, the National Association of Realtors, and 15 local and national brokerages.

Case details: Similar to the other copycat cases that have cropped up following the Sitzer/Burnett verdict, the new class-action lawsuit alleges a conspiracy to require home sellers to pay the buyer agent an inflated amount in violation of federal antitrust law. This case also accuses the defendants of violating the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act. 

There are now 21 active antitrust cases across the country challenging buyer agent compensation practices. 

The case was originally filed on Jan. 15 in U.S. District Court for the district of Nevada and named only associations and MLSs.

On Jan. 25, an amended complaint added a slew of brokerage firms to the list of defendants.

Plaintiff: The case was brought by home seller Nathaniel Whaley, who sold a home in the Las Vegas area in 2022 for $805,000. Whaley paid 5%, or just over $40,000 in commission fees to the listing and buyer agents.

The case is seeking class-action status to include any person who listed a home on a Nevada MLS and paid a commission to the buyer’s broker over the past six years.

Defendants: The eight association and MLS defendants are the National Association of Realtors, Las Vegas Realtors, Nevada Realtors, Sierra Nevada Realtors, Incline Village Realtors, Elko County Realtors, Mesquite Real Estate Association and the Northern Nevada Regional MLS.

The 15 brokerage companies added to the complaint include four Keller Williams franchises, eXp, Redfin, Jason Mitchell Group, the iBuyer Opendoor, and local branches of Engel & Völkers, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Douglas Elliman.

In the Jan. 25 filing, the plaintiffs state that the named brokerages “further the conspiracy” by requiring or encouraging NAR membership and by “serving in leadership roles with the Association and Brokerage Defendants and implementing NAR’s rules in the day-to-day transactions involving home sales in Nevada.”

The original filing also mentioned “multiple individuals and entities” not yet named as defendants who participated as co-conspirators.

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