Victory for Competition in Real Estate Market: BrokersNYC v. REBNY Antitrust Case Cleared for Trial

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U.S. Southern District Court rejects portions of REBNY's motion for summary judgment, saying "substantial questions of fact exist" regarding BrokersNYC's claims of concerted action in restraint of trade (Civil Action #04-Civ.8042(LBS))

BrokersNYC, a leading provider of listings databases and other products to real estate brokerage firms in New York, announced today that Judge Leonard B. Sand of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in a recent decision, has enabled its antitrust case against REBNY (Civil Action #04-Civ.8042(LBS)) to proceed to trial by rejecting parts of REBNY's motion for summary judgment.

BrokersNYC filed the antitrust suit against the Real Estate Board of New York Inc. (REBNY), a real estate industry trade association, and several other defendants, alleging violations of United States and New York antitrust laws. The case concerns REBNY's rules governing the methods by which New York City real estate brokers share their listings with each other.

Current REBNY rules effectively restrict brokers to using one of only two listings services if they want to receive real-time access to real estate listings. BrokersNYC and other competitive listings services are prevented from transmitting these listings to their customers in real time. BrokersNYC believes REBNY's actions harmed both its business and its customers, who were faced with a choice of using higher-priced listing services or waiting longer for notifications of listings, in a city where apartments often do not stay on the market for very long.

REBNY filed a motion for summary judgment, asking Judge Sand to dismiss the case without letting it reach trial. In ruling on the motion, Judge Sand dismissed some of BrokersNYC's claims - which accused REBNY and codefendants of attempting to monopolize the listings market - on the grounds that the two favored listings services could not share a monopoly between them. However, he found BrokersNYC's allegations of concerted action in restraint of trade, made under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, worthy of consideration by a jury. This finding enables the case to go forward.

"I view this as a victory for BrokersNYC, for the smaller brokerage firms that are its customers, and for a competitive real estate market," said LaLa Wang, CEO of BrokersNYC. "Competition benefits consumers everywhere, and now the court is allowing us to present evidence showing that competition has been suppressed in a very significant market."

Additional information about the case, including Judge Sand's decision, is available at http://www.asklala.com/blog/antitrust-klickads-inc-v-real-estate-board-of-new-york . Readers are invited to submit comments online discussing the case.

About BrokersNYC:
BrokersNYC is New York's most powerful tool for real estate brokers and agents to increase revenues and reduce expenses. It offers a broad range of web-based services including listing, scheduling, contact management, agent management, and website design for brokers. For more information, visit http://www.brokersnyc.com.

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LaLa Wang
BrokersNYC
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