Robertson v. Sea Pines Real Estate Co., No. 11-1538 (4th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
This case involved two putative class actions, consolidated on interlocutory appeal, brought by purchasers of real estate brokerage services in South Carolina. Each complaint alleged that the real estate brokerages serving as board members of the local multiple listing service (MLS) conspired to unfairly restrain market competition in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. The court held that plaintiffs sufficiently pled the plurality of actors necessary for section 1 to apply. At this early stage of the litigation, the court was not in a position to weigh the alleged anticompetitve risks of the MLS rules against their procompetitive justifications. This rule of reason inquiry was best conducted with the benefit of discovery and the court expressed no view on the merits of the litigation beyond recognizing the sufficiency of the complaints. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings.