According to the suit, which seeks class-action status, the Zillow Group subsidiary connects buyers with agents who “have no actual connection to the property being advertised, other than having paid defendant to be presented prominently next to the property.”
The lawsuit, filed November 28 in Eastern District Court, compares Premier Agent to a broker who purchases a billboard to advertise a listing already held by a competitor.
The suit says neither Trulia nor its parent Zillow Group requires Premier Agents to obtain consent from the listing agent or firm to advertise alongside their listing.
“Defendant’s practices make it less likely that a prospective homebuyer is able to successfully contact the listing agent instead of the Premier Agents."
The suit seeks $5 million in damages on behalf of plaintiffs Andrew Kim, a licensed agent in Queens; John Doe, a broker who oversees six agents; and “all others similarly situated.”
It was filed by Long Island attorney Spencer Sheehan, who has been busy the past year suing food companies over their use of synthetic vanilla flavoring. (In 2019, Sheehan filed at least 27 lawsuits against the makers of ice cream, yogurt and cookies.)
In 2015, Sheehan represented former subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz, who was facing eviction from his apartment for keeping a pet squirrel.
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