A new class action lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors (“NAR”), by a group of home buyers was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District Illinois this week. The lawsuit, titled Moerhl v National Association Realtors (NAR) alleges antitrust violations by the NAR, due to their practices of forcing home buyers to pay a non-negotiable 6% fee to their agents on all home sales. The suit states that this practice by buyers agents prevents home sellers from the freedom to negotiate their own rate with their real estate agents. Realogy Holdings, HomeServices of America, RE/MAX and Keller Williams are also named in the suit.
The lawsuit cites a 2002 study that if sellers were free to negotiate with their agents, then the commission would fall somewhere closer to 3%.
I am certain that the NAR and associated agencies will argue that that the benefits that brokers provided more than made up for the 6% commission paid. For example, they will argue that the benefit of putting the home up on the MLS, which allowed the homes to be viewed on multiple websites (Redfin etc…), allowed homes to be sold much more quickly and at the highest possible price. They will argue that homes sold by buyers most likely take longer to sell and do not reach the same value as they would on the MLS because they are viewed by less potential buyers.
I am not an antitrust expert by any means, but I will predict that this will be a fiercely fought legal battle. Experts are saying there could be up to 54 billion in damages alleged.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Chicago personal injury accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
The Chicago Tribune reported this week that the City of Chicago has come to a preliminary agreement with a class of plaintiffs who sued to city for unfair practices with the red light cameras. The proposed settlement is for $38.75 million, but still needs final approval from city counsel.
The class action lawsuit, which was filed in March 2015 and received class certification last year, alleged that the city violated its own rules by failing to send a second notice of a violation before guilt was determined, and by doubling the fine for late payment of tickets sooner than allowed. Following the filing of this lawsuit, city administration responded by changing the city ordinance to eliminate the requirement for a second notice. In September 2016, the city passed an ordinance to give those who hadn’t gotten second notices from 2010 to 2015 a do-over, sending notices giving people the right to request an administrative hearing to contest their tickets. Emanuel’s lawyers argued that brought them into compliance.
As part of this settlement, approximately 1.2 million people will be receiving 50% back on previously paid tickets. Those who qualify will receive letters in the mail in upcoming months notifying them they were part of the suit and telling them how to collect their refunds. Under the settlement, people who got tickets from 2010 to 2015 will be paid out of a $26.75 million pot. The city also will forgive another $12 million in motorists’ unpaid tickets.
I think this a positive development. I think it shows the city is being held accountable for their actions. I have long written on this site that the red light cameras were a money grab for the city. Looking at these lawsuits, settlements, indictments and convictions for the red light camera company Redflex, all I can do is sort of chuckle. It is sad for the city. What is even more sad is that the cameras didn’t make the city safer. Study after study showed that the net benefit of the cameras was a push at best. It makes me think I was right all along. These never should have been installed.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
According the Cook County Record and other news outlets, plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed against the city of Chicago for improper red light camera violations has survived a motion to dismiss by the city. The lawsuit, which alleged that the city failed to send a second notice of violation, as required by its ordinances, to give those receiving the tickets sufficient chance to contest them in court, before the city began assessing additional fees and fines for the unpaid tickets. In other words, the suit states that failing to provide the second notice was a violation of offender’s due process.
The city moved to dismiss this lawsuit and the circuit court judge, Kathleen Kennedy, not only denied this motion bet held the following in her ruling:
““The ordinance makes it clear that the city was required to send a second notice before determining liability,” the judge wrote. “The city argues that notices received by plaintiffs satisfied due process because ‘due process only requires notice and an opportunity to be heard’ … Here, plaintiffs’ receipt of a single violation notice does not mean that due process was satisfied when the ordinance mandates that two notices be sent to a non-responder before a determination of liability.”
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are seeking class action status and this is another step forward in that pursuit. If plaintiffs do reach class action status and are able to prevail at trial, then the city could be facing hundreds of millions of dollars in fees that they must refund to drivers who paid these tickets without receiving the second notice.
It’s worth pointing out that weeks after this lawsuit was filed, the city immediately changed its’ procedure when issuing these tickets. They immediately began requiring they issue the second notice to violators. It will be unclear whether this action would be admissible into evidence if the case makes it to trial. Typically, subsequent remedial behavior by a tortfeasor is not admissible into evidence.
I have been writing in this blog for years now that red light and speed camera programs should end. Studies have shown that they do not provide a net safety benefit to the city as the number of traffic accidents have not decreased since the implementation of these cameras. I will be following this lawsuit closely in the news in the coming months.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car crash or a Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
It was widely reported this week that two (2) women in Iowa have a filed a lawsuit seeking class action status against Gatso USA, which runs the traffic cameras in Des Moines.
The lawsuit says the city’s use of speed and red-light cameras violates their fundamental right to travel granted in the U.S. and Iowa constitutions. It also says it entraps drivers in numerous ways, such as the threat of suspending a driver’s license because a ticket has not been paid.
Earlier this week, the Iowa Department of Transportation found that 10 of Iowa’s 34 traffic enforcement cameras should be shut down because they are not making roads safer. Among those to be shut off are speed cameras located on Interstate Highway 235 in Des Moines, where both Brooks and Bullock have received speeding tickets.
The argument over the constitutionality of red light cameras was heard by the Illinois Supreme Court last summer and the court was split on its’ decision. Thus, the red light cameras remains constitutional in Illinois.
A class action lawsuit was filed in Illinois last year against Redflex, which is alleging that the company was unjustly enriched by money they made through their contract with the city of Chicago. Redflex employees, along with a city employee, were indicted and charged with fraud based on bribes paid by Redflex to secure the contract. Although different, there is no doubt that citizens and attorneys throughout the country are frustrated with traffic cameras and are looking at every possible avenue to have them terminated.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago traffic accident or a Chicago workers compensation case, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
According to the Kansas City Star, more than 100,000 drivers caught by red-light cameras in the Kansas City area (900,000 statewide) could get partial refunds under a proposed settlement of class-action lawsuits announced Friday.
American Traffic Solutions, which has provided the red-light cameras used in Kansas City, Grandview, Excelsior Springs and Sugar Creek, along with 23 other cities across Missouri, said Friday it had agreed to resolve all pending class-action lawsuits on behalf of those communities.
The total value of the settlement is estimated at $16 million, and each plaintiff/class member would receive a $20.00 refund from American Traffic Solutions in the settlement.
The basis for the class action lawsuit was that red light cameras were unconstitutional or in conflict with Missouri state law. In other words, the red light camera ordinance was perceived as a money maker rather than a safety provision. The Missouri Supreme Court will address the issue of whether red light cameras are constitutional within the next month.
As I have written here before, there is a class action lawsuit pending in Illinois against former Chicago area red light camera operator, Redflex, which alleges that this company was unjustly enriched millions of dollars through their contract with the city. It has been alleged in criminal court that Redflex employees received their contract with the city through bribes. There does not appear to be any class actions pending in Illinois which contest the constitutionality of the red light cameras.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, the call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-268-7385.
I wrote earlier this year about a federal investigation involving, Redflex, the technology company that previously handled Chicago’s red light camera technology. That federal investigation led to indictments against the Redflex CEO, and consultant and a city of Chicago official for all allegedly being involved in a bribery scandal. The Chicago Tribune reported today that the “bagman,” Martin O’Malley, plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to bribe a public official. He faces up to five years in prison.
The interesting issue here for me is whether this will affect the pending class action lawsuit against Redflex. The lawsuit, filed earlier this year, alleges that Redflex was unjustly enriched millions of dollars from this contract with the city Chicago because they allegedly received these funds through illegal bribes. It will be interesting to see if the transcripts from Mr. O’Malley’s sentencing hearing will be used as evidence in the class action lawsuit. I will be following this case closely.
No word yet as to whether the city has any plans on ending the use of red light cameras throughout Chicago. I don’t see a change any time soon.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
CBS Chicago reported today that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Redflex Traffic Systems alleging that they owe $100 million to motorists who received red light tickets while the company was doing business with the city of Chicago. The lawsuit alleges that motorists are owed a refund because Redflex only received the contract for their services through bribery.
Redflex was removed of their services in 2013 after it was revealed that the company had bribed a city of Chicago transportation official in order to gain the contract for the red light cameras. The lawsuit states in part:
“As a direct result of the bribery scheme, defendants were able to contractually retain approximately 20-25% of all ‘ticket revenue’ generated by tickets… Both Redflex and the City of Chicago have recognized that the Redflex contract with the City of Chicago was secured through corrupt behavior… As such, Redflex’s $100 million (+) dollars in revenue since 2003 generated under the corrupt contract represents ill-gotten gains that have unjustly enriched Redflex. Defendants’ retention of said benefit violates the fundamental principles of justice, equity, and good conscience.”
Both personal injury and class action attorneys often receive a bad rap for the work they do. They are portrayed by the insurance company lobbyists and in the media as greedy and self –serving. As a result, the general public overlooks that the work performed by the plaintiff’s bar is done to make our society safer or to correct a wrong where companies have been unjustly enriched at an expense to the public. It must be recognized that plaintiff and class action attorneys work hard to save lives and also give a fair shake to everyone. This is most evident when companies are made aware of and forced to repair a faulty product like defective car seats or strollers. Or, in this situation where a private company may be forced to pay back millions in profit they received from bribing city officials. I say this class action lawsuit is just and was a long time coming.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.