April 8, 2022. Class members who received unwanted calls from Berkshire Hathaway brokerage affiliate Intero Real Estate Services may be able to receive up to $350, according to a proposed settlement. Judge Beth Freeman granted preliminary approval of the proposed settlement, and Judge Freeman also partially granted plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion in April 2021, finding the real estate brokerage “vicariously liable for calls made by its corporate sales associates and agents.”
Ronald Chinitz initially brought the lawsuit after listing his home for sale and receiving unwanted phone calls from Intero, despite repeated requests for the company to stop calling. Class counsel found new class representatives in May 2021 after Mr. Chinitz attempted to negotiate a settlement with Intero outside of court.
The class is composed of people whose phone numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry and who received two or more unwanted phone calls within a 12-month period from Intero and its agents placed through dialing platform Mojo Dialing Solutions, LLC, anytime since September 13, 2014.
“We are pleased with the preliminary approval of this settlement,” Partner Sabita Soneji said. “This case has been hard fought for three years, and this settlement would provide real, substantial relief for people who have been plagued by these persistent, unlawful calls. People affected will not have to wait to receive part of the recovery and the injunctive relief will stop Intero from making these calls.” She noted that the greatest challenge in the case is, “the defendant’s position that real estate agents are independent contractors for whom [Intero] has no liability. Those two decisions [summary judgment and class certification] paved the way to get preliminary approval of this settlement.”
The case was Chinitz v. Intero Real Estate Services and is now Mitchell v. Intero Real Estate Services, No. 5:18-cv-05623-BLF in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.