An economics expert in Montana advises on a case involving real estate brokers who are seeking damages for alleged brokerage service anti-competition. Plaintiffs are a class of real estate brokers who allege that a brokerage company imposed policies that prevented innovative member brokers from fairly competing with traditional member brokers reliant on full-service listings. They allege the defendant colluded with shareholders, officers and members to interfere with the innovative member brokers to publicize discount listings through the brokerage’s service, preventing the general public from being exposed to such listings. This exposure would have provided those selling homes in the service area with more competitively-priced options, and in the process, placed downward pressure on the prices charged by traditional brokers in the region, including those charged by the defendant’s member brokers, the plaintiffs allege.
The alleged conspiracy allowed defendants to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize prices of commissions and other real estate brokerage services charged to plaintiffs and the class members, and caused plaintiffs and the class members to pay higher prices for commissions and other real estate brokerage services for which they directly contracted with brokerage defendants, the plaintiffs claim.