Sitzer/Burnett Buyer Broker Compensation Case Defendants File Post-Trial Motions

Michael T. Jackson, SHRM-CP - Jan 12 2024
Published in: Public Policy
| Updated Jan 12 2024
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and defendant brokerages file post-trial motions in case related to buyer broker compensation associated with U.S. real estate transactions.

On 8 January 2024, three defendants in the Sitzer/Burnett buyer broker compensation class action lawsuit—the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the brokerages Keller Williams Realty (KW) and HomeServices of America (HSOA)—filed post-trial motions with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri stemming from the October 2023 jury decision in the case. This original jury decision ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered NAR and brokerages to pay $1.78 billion in damages (which, under antitrust law, may be tripled to nearly $5.4 billion if the damages stand).

NAR, KW, and HSOA all filed motions for judgement as a matter of law asking the court to overrule the jury’s verdict and find in their favor. If that does not occur, motions were filed asking for a new trial and a decertification of the class action status originally granted in March 2023.  

As reported by Inman News, defendants raised a range of factors for the court to consider in their various motions, including concerns that:

  • The evidence presented during the original trial insufficiently demonstrated antitrust violations.
  • Some experts used in the original trial to demonstrate injury were “unreliable.”
  • “Legal errors in the jury instructions and plaintiffs’ counsel’s pervasive and prejudicial misconduct” adversely impacted the original trial.
  • Decisions by the court on evidentiary admissibility during the original trail impacted the scope of information ultimately presented to the jury for consideration.
  • The evidence used to demonstrate class injury largely relied on “individualized proof.” 

These motions were expected as NAR, KW, and HSOA had indicated their intent to pursue appeals shortly after the jury verdict was announced. Plaintiffs will now have an opportunity to file opposition briefs by 26 February, at which point defendants will be able to file responses. A final ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Bough will not be issued until all post-trial motions have been addressed, meaning that April or May 2024 will be the earliest that ruling will be finalized and released. 


Although the verdict is being appealed, many jurisdictions are not awaiting the outcome of the Sitzer/Burnett decision and are adapting their own rules and laws around buyer broker compensation. Additionally, in the wake of the October Sitzer/Burnett decision, over a dozen additional lawsuits have been filed in courts across the United States against various defendants, including national brokerages, local teams, individual brokers, and regionally based realtor associations.

WERC will continue to monitor developments and provide updates to its members related to the Sitzer\Burnett case and other ongoing litigation related to buyer broker compensation.

Michael T. Jackson is vice president of member engagement and public policy at WERC.