US: Judge Tosses Zillow suit alleging collusion with brokers

A federal judge has tossed a property owner’s lawsuit claiming real estate website Zillow violates antitrust law by making deals with some companies to hide its property value estimates.

The plaintiff, who was attempting to sell an eight-bedroom house in Cresskill, New Jersey, with Manhattan views for US$7 million, said in the suit that buyers were put off by Zillow’s US$3.3 million estimate of the property’s fair market value, displayed next to the list price. The company’s approximations of market value, calculated by an algorithm based on publicly available data, are called Zestimates.

The suit claimed Zillow had illegal agreements with certain real estate companies—such as Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International, The Corcoran Group, and Weichert Realty—to move its Zestimates to a less-prominent place on their listings. When the plaintiff contacted Zillow and asked to move the Zestimate for the property to a less-prominent spot, Zillow refused.

But US District Judge John Michael Vazquez dismissed the suit without prejudice Thursday, March 28.

Full Content: Law 360

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