In my most recent update on the Federal Trade Commission's case against RealComp, I noted that the MLS had filed a motion to dismiss. The Administrative Law Judge, in a May 21 ruling posted earlier today on the Commission's website, denied RealComp's motion.
Construing RealComp's motion as one for summary decision, the ALJ concluded that "it is abundantly clear that there are numerous genuine issues of material fact in dispute . . . [thus RealComp] has not demonstrated it is entitled to judment as a matter of law." Elaborating, the ALJ explained that "[t]he following are but a few of the relevant factual issues questions [sic] that must be resolved":
1. Whether participation in Realcomp is a service that is necessary for the provision of effective residential real estate brokerage services to sellers and buyers of real property in the Realcomp service area.In other words, Strike two.
2. Whether [Realcomp] can hinder or exclude competitors in the market for real estate brokerage within its service area.
3. Whether Exclusive Agency brokers are able to continue to do business selling residential real estate in the Realcomp Service Area.
4. Whether Realcomp's Website Policy prevents information from being transmitted to various public real estate websites.
5. Whether the Website Policy and the Search Function Policy restrain competition in the provision of residential real estate brokerage services by discriminating in favor of Exclusive Right to Sell listing contracts and against "limited service" contracts.
RealComp's trial is scheduled to begin in June...