More Lawsuits in the US: Zillow, Move Inc and CoStar all Involved

July 4, 2024
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Two new lawsuits have come out of the States this week, with all three of the 'Big Three' embroiled in emerging legal disagreements.

 

Move Inc (Realtor.com) accuses CoStar Group (Homes.com) of hiring ex-employee to access insider knowledge

Move Inc—the holding company behind the US number two portal Realtor.com—has sued CoStar Group, accusing it of hiring an ex-employee and using them to access insider secrets to unfairly strengthen CoStar's residential portal Homes.com.

Move Inc. alleges that former employee James Kaminsky was hired by CoStar when he was laid off from Realtor.com after eight and a half years with the company, with CoStar intending to use his experience at Realtor.com to access insider knowledge including business strategies and industry contacts that Kaminsky compiled during his tenure.

Move alleges that Kaminsky accessed Realtor.com documents "at least 37 times" since leaving the firm in January and joining CoStar in March.

The lawsuit states:

As he departed Move, Mr. Kaminsky stole confidential business information, sending it to his personal email account on the last day he had access to Move’s computer system. He established surreptitious, undetected ongoing access to allow himself (and, thus, CoStar) to spy on Move’s highly confidential documents

There is nothing wrong with lawful — even intense — competition. But competitors should never be allowed to cheat and steal to get ahead.

CoStar has already brushed off the lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, as a PR stunt that seeks to deflect Realtor.com's decline relative to Homes.com's acceleration.

 

Zillow sues Richland County for withholding data

Meanwhile, Zillow has cited the Freedom of Information Act as the backbone of its lawsuit against Richland County, with the portal giant claiming the county is violating the law by not providing the company with data on real estate and tax assessments.

In May 2024, Zillow requested property assessment data from the county but was told that no such data matched the portal's request. Richland County then changed its tune, saying the data was available online and therefore did not need to directly share the data as part of a new set of documents.

Zillow argues that not all the requested information was available online and therefore had a right to have its request fulfilled by Richland County.

Zillow's lawsuit asks that a judge require Richland County to fulfil the request and pay Zillow's legal costs should Zillow win the case.

July 4, 2024
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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