NAR's Legal Eagles May Be Able to Help You

July 1, 1996

The Legal Action Committee recently picked three new cases to support. The committee provides financial assistance for litigation that has significance for the association, including cases relevant to the practice of real estate, the operation of associations, the ownership and use of real estate, and private property rights.

Here are several criteria the committee has established to help determine eligibility for NAR support.

  • Cases must have the potential to affect the operation of REALTOR® associations or to have nationwide impact on real estate--related matters.
  • Support isn't typically provided for cases that affect only individual litigants or the law of a particular state or region.
  • Financial support provided to litigants by NAR must be used for legal fees and expenses. It may not be used to pay judgments, damages, fines, settlements, or opposing lawyers' fees.

During the Midyear Business Meetings in Washington, D.C., the NAR Board of Directors approved the committee's support of the following cases and the amount noted:

Military Services Realty v. Realty Consultants, Virginia, $81,450 to Realty Consultants

The matter involves two cases, one in federal court and the other in state court. Military Services Realty, Tidewater, Va., claims Realty Consultants violated state and federal antitrust laws, misappropriated trade secrets, and engaged in unfair competition.

The claims arose after several salespeople voluntarily left Military Services Realty to work at Realty Consultants, also of Tidewater. Realty Consultants was successful in federal and state court, but the state decision is being appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Pearson v. Edgar, Illinois, $20,000 to Pearson

This case is a continuation of a long-running challenge, on First Amendment grounds, to an Illinois criminal statute that prohibits certain real estate solicitation activities. The statute prohibits the soliciting of homeowners after they've given notice that they don't want to sell their home. The statute allows a community group to collect nonsolicitation notices from a large number of owners and to deliver a list of such owners to real estate companies, thereby prohibiting the companies from soliciting any owner on the list. The case was recently tried in U.S. District Court and the parties are awaiting the judge's decision.

South/Southwest Association of REALTORS®v. Village of Lynwood, Illinois, $3,749

The association successfully challenged the village's ban on For Sale signs. The Legal Action Committee gave financial support to defray the legal costs the South/Southwest Association of REALTORS® incurred during the case.

At each of the three NAR meetings---Midwinter, Midyear, and the annual convention---the Legal Action Committee selects several cases to support.

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