Judge Sets 2027 Trial Date for Largest Seller Copycat Lawsuit

Judge Stephen R. Bough, who oversaw the Burnett case, has set a trial date for the central national copycat lawsuit which has sought to include every major brokerage that did not receive immunity from the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) settlement—though a jury isn’t going to be seated any time soon.

The trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 8, 2027, three and a half years from now and almost exactly four years after the Burnett verdict sparked a landslide of copycat cases and precipitated fundamental changes in how real estate commissions are paid.

This case is notable due to being filed by the same lawyers behind Burnett and Moehrl, the two original commission cases that alleged NAR and big brokerages conspired to inflate costs and harm consumers. 

The Burnett lawsuit, filed in 2019, concluded with a two-week jury trial in October 2023 and a $1.8 billion verdict against NAR, HomeServices and Keller Williams, while Moehrl is technically scheduled to go to trial early next year—though all defendants in the case have struck settlement agreements, making that date unlikely.

The new case scheduled for trial in 2027 is a consolidated version of two lawsuits known as Umpa and Gibson. There are 35 entities named in the most recent version of this lawsuit—though at least 13 of those have already announced settlements, with only one (Keller Williams) having received final approval from a judge on its deal.

Despite the much larger number of defendants, the Umpa/Gibson trial is scheduled to take the same length of time as Burnett was—three weeks. 

In the end, the jury only sat for a little over two weeks in Burnett, however, after two companies—RE/MAX and Anywhere—struck settlements in the weeks before the trial. It took the jury only around two hours to deliver a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs.

Gibson was initially filed only hours after the Burnett verdict by the same attorneys who successfully represented the plaintiffs in that lawsuit, naming several additional large real estate companies. Umpa was filed several weeks later, by the plaintiffs behind Moehrl, with a similar set of defendants. 

Back in April, plaintiffs in the case added almost 20 new defendants, seemingly focused on companies who were left out of the NAR settlement, which had been announced a few weeks earlier in March.

According to the schedule set by Bough, plaintiffs in Gibson/Umpa have until Nov. 20, 2025 to add more parties to the case, or amend their complaint. Discovery is scheduled to begin July 1, 2024.

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