The National Association of Realtors (NAR) took another push back at last October’s verdict in the Sitzer/Burnett case, arguing that the verdict was fueled with “erroneous rulings by judge” while insisting the cooperative compensation issue raised in the trial is not anti-consumer.
In an editorial appearing in the Winter 2024 print edition of Realtor Magazine and reprinted online, Executive Editor of Digital Media Graham Wood stated that NAR “introduced evidence to show how the real estate marketplace works and how cooperative compensation benefits consumers. NAR also showed that its rules prohibit anticompetitive behavior and encourage the free market and competition.”
Wood questioned why the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, arguing the jurors were misdirected in reaching a verdict.
“NAR believes this outcome was unsupported and was largely driven by legally erroneous rulings by the judge, including legal instructions that prohibited the jury from considering the vast procompetitive benefits that result from NAR’s policies and cooperative compensation practice,” he continued.
“NAR continues to believe cooperative compensation is good for consumers: Real estate sales agents provide a bona fide service to home buyers and sellers and should expect to know what they’ll be paid,” Wood added. “Cooperative compensation makes the process smooth and efficient while ensuring that buyers benefit from professional representation if they so choose. Cooperation benefits sellers by bringing more buyers to the market. And buyers, sellers and brokers benefit from the central source of accurate data on homes for sale.”
Wood stated a post-trial briefing will be complete in March and that NAR expected an appeal to be briefed and argued later in 2024.