The discount brokerage involved in a bitter court battle against Zillow and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has hired one of the most prominent lawyers in the country.
U.S. realtor publication Inman confirmed that REX has secured the services of famed lawyer David Boies who is famous for representing the likes of Al Gore, Harvey Weinstein, the NFL and failed startup Theranos among others.
In an email to Inman, Boies said: “the case is important to enhancing competition in housing markets,” and that “Effective competition in housing markets is critical to every homeowner and potential homeowner”.
REX is currently suing the National Association of Realtors and Zillow for what it feels is an unfair and exclusionary rule which states that MLS participants, including Zillow, must show listings from non-MLS members on a separate section of their websites.
As a discount brokerage, REX relied heavily on the claim that American consumers pay too much in broker fees. Its lack of an MLS membership has seen its listings relegated to Zillow's 'Other Listings' tab (below) which gets far less traffic than the main tab.
The suit against Zillow and NAR started in March 2021 and has seen an unsuccessful countersuit from the NAR and a lot of back and forth in the American real estate media. A lot is potentially at stake in the judgement as Zillow and other portals might be forced to include listings from non-MLS fee-paying entities in their main tabs if REX is successful.
The news that David Boies was to take up REX's case came immediately after rumours began swirling through U.S. realtor circles that the Texas-based brokerage had shut up shop. The company admitted defeat on some level back in October when it reluctantly joined the MLS system and there were two rounds of layoffs reported in 2021.
Agents at REX were reportedly told last Thursday to find a different brokerage to work for and in an email to agency publication Real Trends REX's General Counsel Michael Toth appeared to confirm reports that the company had folded by referring to REX in the past tense.
“Zillow and NAR colluded to protect their profits, REX’s innovative business model was sacrificed.”
It would appear that the lawsuit against Zillow and the NAR is the last dance for REX...