$69 Million For Plaintiffs Lawyers???

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Anthony Lamacchia is the Founder and CEO of Lamacchia Realty, a multi-state real estate company.

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Summary of '$69 Million For Plaintiffs Lawyers???'

Anthony Lamacchia discusses several significant topics related to the real estate industry. Here’s a summary of the key points Anthony covers:

  1. $69 Million Requested by Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: Anthony delves into the request by plaintiffs’ lawyers, led by Michael Ketchmark, for $69 million in fees from a $208 million settlement pot. He criticizes this request as excessive and indicative of a broader issue with the legal system, which he argues is rigged in favor of lawyers over the real estate industry. Anthony provides a detailed breakdown of the hours and rates claimed by the lawyers, suggesting that the legal fees are disproportionate to the work done.

  2. NAR Membership Decline: Anthony discusses the decline in membership of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which has fallen below 1.5 million for the first time in three years. He attributes this decline to the current market conditions, which are the worst since 1995, but also speculates about the impact of negative publicity generated by the plaintiffs’ legal actions against the real estate industry.

  3. Significance of March 28th: He highlights the importance of March 28th, a date when judges from multiple states will discuss the idea of consolidating various cases related to the real estate industry. Anthony expresses hope that the cases will not be consolidated in the Western District of Missouri and encourages defense attorneys to engage with the process.

Throughout the video, Anthony passionately defends the real estate industry against what he sees as unfair attacks and excessive legal fees. He emphasizes the essential role of realtors in assisting buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants, urging them to ignore the noise and continue their work.

Read the Full Transcript For '$69 Million For Plaintiffs Lawyers???'​

Anthony Lamacchia: Ketchmark and the other lead plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed an application to get paid $69 million. Folks, that is only on the $208 million that is currently in the settlement pot. It doesn’t include future settlements and/or judgments. That’s awful interesting, isn’t it? I’m going to break that down. I’m also going to talk about how NAR’s membership went below $1.5 million for the first time in three years. We’re going to talk about the significance of March 28th. That’s a date that’s actually going to matter to a lot of these cases, and I’m going to break that down, as well as some other things here along the way.

Folks, when I debated Michael Ketchmark on HousingWire, I tore into the fees. I talked about what he would make in a hypothetical situation of getting paid one-third. I talked about how if he was getting paid hourly, it would be substantially less, but because of the rigged, stealing a line from them about our industry because they claim our industry is rigged and it’s not even close, but theirs sure is. Because of their rigged system, he’s getting paid substantially, substantially more. Actually, $1,400 an hour, okay? $9 million is being justified just for Michael Ketchmark, and his partner Scott McWright, $8 million, okay? Adding up to a substantial amount of money, substantial amount of hours, all broken down right here.

What does this tell me? It tells me that what I pointed out in the debate was accurate.

I think this case is a complete money grab. No one in it is going to make more money than Michael Ketchmark and the other two plaintiffs’ attorneys. He talks about us making too much and all these other things, and that isn’t fair, it isn’t right. Why? Because the lawyers, these trial lawyers, are operating on a rigged system if Michael was to charge per hour on this case. He told me on the phone he worked on this for four years, so let’s do some math. Four years, 2,000 work hours in a year, even if he charged $1,500 an hour.

Our industry is being ripped off. They are taking money, coming into our industry, and picking the pocket of our industry. Another line I stole from Ketchmark because he says that Realtors pick the pockets of home sellers. In fact, I’m going to read you some of his comments in Inman, and I find the comments awfully, awfully, preemptively defensive. I’m sure that’s because he knew that I would come out and talk about this. Of course, I will, because folks, I speak facts about these cases. I’m the only person that I’ve seen that’s willing to go on camera and attack the other side and point out flaws that I see in their case, and point out the incredible hypocrisy that exists on what they are doing to our industry.

First, let me read you some comments from Inman, then I’m going to take you here, and I’m going to show you what the average lawyer charges in Missouri. I’m going to show you the filing of the application they put in. Let me read some of this. According to Ketchmark, he commented this to Inman, “The attorney’s motion pertains solely to the amounts law firms are asking for in regard to the three proposed settlements, not in regard to the cases overall.” I already mentioned that.

Michael said, “If there’s additional money that’s collected by way of judgment or additional settlement, the law allows us to make additional fee applications.” Well, of course, that’s his comment. I agree. Then he goes on to talk about how– this is great. This comment is, this one is gold. “According to the motion, an award of attorneys’ fees representing one-third of the settlement fund in their case expenses as well, has a well-established precedent and is considered customary.” Folks, is this real life? They say that our industry is doing that and they’re not only doing it, they’re saying it in public statements and they seem to get away with it. “A percentage-based recovery allows individuals without the means to pay for counsel by the hour to nonetheless assert their claims.”

Without the means to pay counsel by the hour. Yes, that’s awfully interesting that the hourly rate would be substantially lower if these attorneys were being paid that, but as I mentioned in the debate, they’re getting around that because they’re using this rigged system. “A percentage-based recovery also aligns class actions interests with their clients, blah-blah-blah.” Hang on, hang on, this is beautiful right here. I’m actually very proud of this. “Some in the real estate industry have objected to the law firms asking for a customary fee when they are suing an AR in franchises for allegedly stabilizing commissions at between 2.5% and 3%,” but there’s zero comparison between the two according to Ketchmark.

Holy smokes folks. He actually says it. People say I’m bold and I say thanks. This guy’s right up there with me. This is Michael’s quote, okay? “There’s a difference between a fee application where the court comes in and reviews an amount and approves an amount, and conspiring with your competitors to set your wages.” Really? Us Realtors conspire with one another? Real estate brokerages conspire with one another? That’s a lie. I’ve said it since my first video. I’m going to show you some evidence of that in a second.

Come with me. Let’s take a look. First, I want to review the actual application, so stay with me here. I’m going to read it and I’m going to scroll down. “In the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, declaration of Michael Ketchmark in support of class counsel’s motion for attorneys fees, costs, expenses, and service awards.”

Okay, they’re putting in a very legitimate application. I get all that. Now we do a little scroll down. There’s all kinds of justification. Some of it I’m sure was worded really well because they knew I would pick it apart. Let’s take a look here folks, Michael Ketchmark, partner 6314 hours at a rate of $1,450 per hour, $9 million and some change. Scott McCreight, you all can read it, it’s right here on the screen, 6,000 and change hours, 8.2 million.

Folks, isn’t this interesting interesting? See, what they did, it’s very obvious, is they did the math on one-third of 208 million, and then they did the numbers backwards and reverse-engineered their hourly rate. Folks, if this settlement pot so far was 300 million, make no mistake about it, they’d be applying for $100 million in attorney’s fees. They’re applying for 69, even though one of the sheets they put together justifies $82 million.

They’re probably trying to act like they’re nice guys taking 69, okay?

Let’s take a look at what the average lawyer makes in Missouri. To look that up, we found this website Clio. Apparently, they do billing on behalf of attorneys. How much should I charge as a lawyer in Missouri? Scroll down. Administrative lawyers, appellate court at $339, bankruptcy $350 an hour, collections, $319 an hour. Folks, let’s just say Ketchmark himself was going to charge $400 an hour. He says he works 6,000 hours, 6000, and change. At $400 an hour that be 2.5 million, but instead, he’s justifying $9 million for himself. How is he able to do that? He’s able to do that because the legal system is rigged. I never knew this till I got involved and started looking at this, and I’m the only person willing to come on a camera and say it.

Not only do they clearly conspire amongst one another, but what do they do? They even have it on the American Bar Association website. Let me grab this from my other monitor here and I’m going to scroll down and I’m going to show you. Fees and expenses. I mentioned this in the debate as well. If I scroll down, you can get right to the part that specifically says a third to 40%. In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage, often one-third to 40% of the recovery, which is the amount finally paid to the client. Folks, it’s right here on the American Bar Association website. Look at it. You won’t find any talk like that on the National Association of Realtors website that I know of. I don’t run the website personally. I’m not in charge of anything or anyone there. I’m a member, but I’ve never seen such a thing and no one has sent it to me. They have it right on their website.

I just wanted to point that out. I wanted to point out Ketchmark’s comments in here, which were obviously preemptively defensive because he knew I would do this. In my opinion, they deserve it, he deserves it, and that’s why I’m doing it. It’ll be interesting to see what the judge says. Now obviously, they should be paid. I’m not arguing about that. We all want to get paid for our jobs.

Moving on. NAR membership drops below 1.5 million for the first time. This was in the Real Deal, came across my monitor two hours ago. First time in three years, Trade Group sites worst market since 1995. That’s true. There’s no question the market is having the biggest impact on membership. Lawrence Yen, the economist, even pointed out that he expects it to go down more in the next couple of years. I agree, but I can’t help but wonder. Is the PR machine that is clearly put up by this by the plaintiff’s counsel, are they having an impact for defaming our business and using their talking points in the media to any media that will listen?

I distinctly remember Ethan Glass, the attorney on behalf of NAR saying to the judge, and I wasn’t there but I read it, that every night Ketchmark goes on the evening news and spews anything he wants. At some point that is having a detrimental impact to our industry and to Realtors. That’s why I’m willing to go out and argue, and point things out about their fees. Clearly, the vast majority of Realtors love when I do this because the vast majority of Realtors know that this is wrong.

NAR membership may be down, but I will tell you there’s not a chance the real estate industry is going away. Buyers will always need Realtors, sellers will always need Realtors, landlords and tenants will always need Realtors. It’s the way it goes, it’s the way it’s gone for more than a hundred years. This is both an emotional and financial transaction in business, okay folks? I’m not concerned about that.

Now, what’s to come in the weeks to come? March 28th is an important day. There’s a bunch of judges from multiple states, thankfully not the judge from the Western District of Missouri, but there’s multiple judges getting together, and they’re going to discuss the idea of consolidation amongst, I’m sure, other things related to the case. I sure hope that these cases do not get consolidated to the Western District of Missouri. If you’re one of the defense attorneys watching, I strongly recommend that you log on to recases.com. I have it right here on my TV monitor in my office. Log on to recases.com. That’s something that’s going to happen on the 28th. I’m sure articles will come out after that, information will come out after that, and I will report to you all when I get it with my opinions.

In addition to that, in the MLS PIN case, MLS has requested that they can put in a rebuttal to the Department of Justice’s statement of interest that they had put out. If you haven’t seen my videos on the Department of Justice position on our industry, you need to go on to recases.com and take a look at that video. I broke that down, and then I broke down what to do if you’re a Realtor and how you’re going to get paid. I went into it as much as I could on a video. Those arguments, which by the way, it’s an odd situation.

The DOJ comes in like Darth Vader from the side, and puts their opinions. A couple things they said, I said, hey, they’ve got a point. They pointed out how much the attorneys were making, how the class members were only going to get $5.87, which is ridiculous. A couple points they made were valid, but there were some things that they said that clearly showed they’re off base with understanding how our industry works, understanding how this would affect buyers, first-time buyers, VA buyers, et cetera. I recommend taking a look at that. If you haven’t yet, you’ll find it on recases.com.

I imagine at this point, I’ll be back to you all in early April, unless something mysterious comes up sooner, folks. That’s all, good luck. Realtor, friends, keep doing what you do best, assisting buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, and ignore the noise in the media that the other side is pointing out, but stay tuned in here. If you haven’t subscribed already to our Crush It YouTube channel, subscribe so you’ll get an alert when these videos come out. That’s all, folks. Also, follow me on Instagram for many updates in between.

Thank you.