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Real estate listing service sued for restricting competition

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A federal judge recently approved a settlement for an antitrust lawsuit filed against a real estate listing service.

As part of the settlement, the plaintiff, West Penn Multi-List will pay $2.4 million. Furthermore, any local individual or business that had used Realtors at Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, Freeman Realty, Northwood Realty Services or Prudential Preferred Realty between February 2005 and February 2009 may be entitled to compensation.

Pittsburgh resident Thomas Logue sued West Penn Multi-List in April 2010, claiming the real estate listing company restricted competition and failed to include any lower-priced brokers. Thus, Logue spent more on brokers than he would have normally when he sold his home in 2006.

Officials at West Penn have refuted the claims, denying they have ever blocked any low-priced brokers. However, officials felt that agreeing to the settlement was the right move.

In all, West Penn's services cover 15 nearby counties.

The case highlights the importance of companies being careful about their business practices, as any actions perceived as discriminatory or restricting can potentially result in expensive lawsuits. Thus, having business insurance in place can help companies in case any unforeseen legal fees arise. 

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