The ongoing antitrust lawsuit between Real Estate Exchange (REX) and Zillow, which alleges that Zillow and the National Association of REALTORS colluded to restrict competition, took a significant turn as U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly ordered Zillow CEO Rich Barton to sit for a three-hour deposition within the next 30 days.
The decision comes after Zillow attempted to block the request, arguing that Barton’s deposition was unnecessary and would cause undue burden, as he was not directly involved in the decision-making process that led to the alleged antitrust violations. However, Judge Zilly disagreed with this argument, stating that Barton’s testimony could provide valuable insight into the inner workings of Zillow and its relationship with the National Association of Realtors.
This latest development is a significant win for REX, which has been pursuing litigation against Zillow and the National Association of Realtors since March 2021. REX has alleged that Zillow made changes to its website that “unfairly hides [REX’s] listings from homebuyers,” thereby violating antitrust laws and limiting competition in the real estate market.
While Zillow has denied any wrongdoing, the decision to require Barton’s testimony could bring the case closer to resolution. REX has requested that Zillow be forced to open up its platform to all real estate brokerages, which would be a major shakeup in the industry.
As the case continues to unfold, it raises important questions about the role of online real estate platforms and the extent to which they have monopolized the market. With the upcoming deposition of Zillow’s CEO Rich Barton, the possibility of a settlement, or continued court proceedings, it will be interesting to see how this case impacts the real estate industry as a whole.