The firm recently won a complete victory at the pleading stage for the National Association of REALTORS® in United States District Court for the Central District of California. NAR, the largest trade association in the United States, promulgates rules and regulations that govern REALTOR® association-owned multiple listing services, which are databases real estate agents use to aggregate information about homes that are for sale in particular coverage areas. ThePLS.com, a private listing service that allowed its members to share information about real estate listings, filed an antitrust suit against NAR, challenging a multiple listing service regulation called the Clear Cooperation Policy. NAR’s Clear Cooperation Policy requires that multiple listing service participants submit real estate listings to their multiple listing services within one business day of marketing the subject properties to the public. PLS alleged that this requirement excludes competing listing networks and harms competition.
Quinn Emanuel argued that the allegations in PLS’s complaint showed the opposite: the Clear Cooperation Policy excludes nothing, increases access to information about the real estate market, and benefits consumers. The Court agreed.
In an opinion that adopted arguments from our motion to dismiss—and arguments we made during the three-hour hearing on the motion—the Court explained that, “accepting PLS’s allegations as true, the Clear Cooperation Policy has some plainly pro-competitive aspects, which underscore that PLS cannot allege a plausible connection between harm to its business and harm to competition and consumers.” The Court went on to dismiss PLS’s claims in full and without leave to amend.