Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Judgment entered against Idaho class on tying claims

It's been over six months since anything material has come out of the four class actions pending in federal district court in Idaho. You'll recall the court previously certified the following class in these cases, which allege that each defendant illegally tied the purchase of undeveloped land to payment of a commission based upon the value of the land plus anticipated development thereon:

All persons who: (1) bought an undeveloped lot in a subdivision in either Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem or Owyhee county, Idaho between August 18, 2001 and February 28, 2006 in which Defendant has or had the exclusive right to market or sell the subdivision lots on behalf of the developer; (2) were required to build a house on the lot in order to buy the lot; and (3) were required to pay Defendant a commission based on the cost of the lot plus the actual or estimated cost of the house in order to buy the lot.
The wait is over. Last Friday District Judge Winmill granted summary judgment in favor of the four defendants on the state and federal tying claims. After identifying the relevant legal issue as "whether Defendants, in allegedly forcing Plaintiffs to buy Defendants' services on the sale of the subject homes built on the lots, foreclosed other brokerages from selling the same product to Plaintiffs," the court concluded that the defendants demonstrated that plaintiffs “lack evidence of foreclosure by pointing out that Plaintiffs did not want to purchase the tied product from any source.”

The plaintiffs' Idaho Consumer Protection Act claims remain before the court at this time.

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