During an antitrust lawsuit in Seattle federal court, a US judge ruled on Tuesday that Rich Barton, the Chief Executive of Zillow, can be questioned despite objections that he has no material involvement in the case, as it pertains to a rival real estate platform.
US District Judge Thomas Zilly has authorized REX – Real Estate Exchange Inc to depose Barton for a maximum of three hours in their lawsuit against Zillow and National Association of Realtors (NAR) for alleged anticompetitive business practices.
Zillow’s legal team had objected to Barton being questioned. Barton, who co-founded and has been the CEO of Zillow since 2019, oversaw the company’s revenue of $2 billion in the previous year.
In 2021, REX filed a lawsuit against Zillow, claiming that its consumer website was redesigned in collaboration with NAR to prioritize home listings from NAR’s member-operated multiple listing services, while segregating, concealing, and demoting other listings. These listings represent databases of residential real estate available for purchase in different regions of the country.
According to the company, REX claimed that the change led to a significant decrease in views on their listings.
Rex intends to inquire Barton regarding Zillow’s participation in multiple listing services and acquisition of properties as well as mortgage origination.