Federal judge dismisses two-year lawsuit between Zillow Group and EJ MGT

March 4, 2020
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A federal judge has dismissed a two-year antitrust lawsuit against Zillow Group focused around its home valuation tool, Zillow Zestimates.

In 2018, a New Jersey group called EJ MGT sued Zillow, alleging that a policy allowing some partners to move the Zestimate valuation tool lower down on listings hurts competition and amounts to a violation of U.S. antitrust laws.

The conflict arose when Zillow’s Zestimate for a home in New Jersey came in well below what EJ MGT wanted to sell it for. EJ MGT alleged that several buyers were dissuaded from purchasing the home due to the discrepancy.

Typically, the Zestimate is one of the most prominent aspects of a listing, appearing just below the list price. By allowing what EJ MGT called “co-conspirators” — brokers that partner with Zillow — to “conceal” Zestimates, Zillow undermined the transparency the tool was meant to create, the suit said.

In an opinion recently issued, Judge John Michael Vasquez wrote that the prominence of a Zestimate on its listing or that of a competing broker didn’t hurt EJ MGT’s efforts to sell the house. 

Read more here

March 4, 2020

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