Keller Williams settles Sitzer lawsuit for $70M

Keller Williams has agreed to pay $70 million to settle one of the landmark antitrust lawsuits over broker commissions. 

The brokerage, which announced the agreement on Thursday, was one of three remaining defendants in the Missouri-based lawsuit known as Sitzer/Burnett. 

A spokesperson for Keller Williams said the settlement would not “impact our operations or our ability to support our franchisees and agents.”

In an email sent to Keller Williams agents on Thursday, executive chairman Gary Keller said the settlement, if approved, would release the firm from liability in copycat lawsuits. 

“We had full confidence in the strength of our appeal,” Keller wrote. “But we also knew the appellate process could be long and unpredictable – and that our franchisees and agents would have no protection and complete uncertainty while that process played out over time.”

The move comes three months after the jury said in a verdict Keller Williams, the National Association of Realtors and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices liable in the case, awarding the plaintiffs $1.8 billion in damages. The verdict is awaiting final approval from the judge, which could rule to treble the damages, bringing the total up to more than $5 billion.

Anywhere Real Estate and RE/MAX were also named in the lawsuit, but the brokerages agreed to settle for $83 million and $55 million, respectively, shortly before it went to trial. The judge on Monday preliminary approved their settlement offers, which also apply to one of the Chicago-based cases, known as Moehrl. 

The jury’s verdict sparked a wave of copycat lawsuits filed in markets across the country, targeting the Sitzer defendants along with national and local brokerages. 

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