Agent drops go well with towards Compass, workforce member hits again

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Former Compass agent Jill Schwartz has dropped a lawsuit towards Compass alleging that the closely funded brokerage conspired together with her former workforce members to steal her listings and their related commissions. The lawsuit continues towards these former workforce members and one member has hit again with a multimillion-dollar countersuit alleging Schwartz defamed her and falsely took credit score for her listings.

Jill Schwartz, workforce chief of the Jill Schwartz Group within the Washington D.C. space, filed a lawsuit in February 2019 towards Compass and three former workforce members — Ray Ferrara, Alexandra Thomas Schwartz and Danielle Spira — alleging the workforce members unlawfully conspired to type their very own workforce at Compass whereas breaking oral and written agreements together with her and persevering with to make use of her know-how, instruments, apps, web site, buyer base and leads.

Jill Schwartz

Schwartz alleged Compass didn’t help her by not terminating the workforce members and by not aiding her in getting the commissions she believes she’s entitled to from listings she procured for the workforce. On the time the lawsuit was first filed, a Compass spokesperson informed Inman that Compass had fired Schwartz. Schwartz was an agent at Keller Williams Capital Properties in Bethesda, Maryland, when she filed the go well with and has since moved to RLAH Actual Property in Chevy Chase.

On April 20, 2020, Schwartz amended her complaint to solely make one declare towards Compass: breach of contract, for allegedly failing to guard her “curiosity in her charges and fee.” The grievance sought “compensatory damages within the quantity of not lower than $500,000” from Compass. That very same date, the court ordered that declare into arbitration, per a clause in Schwartz’s impartial contractor settlement with Compass.

Ray Ferrara

On Oct. 15, Schwartz and Compass informed the court that the declare towards Compass was dismissed with prejudice, which means completely. Compass declined to touch upon whether or not the brokerage had reached a settlement with Schwartz.

In the meantime, Schwartz’s amended claims towards her former workforce members — breach of contract, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary responsibility and tortious interference with contract — proceed to face.

“Ms. Thomas, Ms. Spira, and Mr. Ferrara don’t have any touch upon Jill Schwartz’s current dismissal of her claims towards Compass.  They proceed to keep up that the allegations by Jill Schwartz are frivolous, and anticipate a good end result on this case,” their attorneys informed Inman in an emailed assertion.

Danielle Spira

On Might 4, in a solution to the amended grievance, the previous workforce members denied the allegations towards them. One of many workforce members, Thomas Schwartz, additionally re-lodged a counterclaim towards Schwartz that she had previously filed in response to Schwartz’s authentic grievance.

The brand new counterclaim alleged that Schwartz ,”[o]n quite a few events” in 2018, had demanded that Compass administration terminate Thomas Schwartz’s employment contract “primarily based on false and derogatory allegations regarding [Thomas Schwartz’s] conduct, strategies, {and professional} ethics and {qualifications}.”

In keeping with the submitting, this included a Sept. 11, 2018 e mail to Kimberly Harris, the regional president of Compass for Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., accusing Thomas Schwartz of unlawfully downloading Schwartz’s database and stating that Thomas Schwartz’s “enterprise mannequin is to steal the JillSchwartz group Listings,” and that “[t]his alone is grounds for firing” Thomas Schwartz.

“Such statements imputed to [Thomas Schwartz] the felony offense of theft and in any other case attacked her health for her occupation and commerce, and her skill to carry out her work inside the requirements of her employer,” the counterclaim mentioned.

“[Schwartz’s] false statements triggered damage to [Thomas Schwartz] in her commerce and occupation, as they’ve triggered reputational harm to [Thomas Schwartz] along with cognizable hurt in an quantity to be confirmed at trial, together with medical and well being care bills, and extreme emotional and psychological misery.”

The unique grievance notes that Alexandra Thomas Schwartz “now shares the identical final title because the [p]laintiff” Jill Schwartz, however didn’t point out a household relationship and it was unclear at press time if the 2 have been associated in any method.

Alexandra Thomas Schwartz

Within the counterclaim, Thomas Schwartz additionally alleged that in February 2019 Schwartz deleted considered one of Thomas Schwartz’s bought listings within the area’s a number of itemizing service, Vivid MLS, after which revealed a brand new itemizing naming herself because the agent and her new brokerage, Keller Williams Capital Properties, because the dealer.

“Counter-Defendant Jill Schwartz stole the Counter-Plaintiff’s credit score and revealed the false itemizing to inflate her gross sales historical past within the public file in order that she would obtain an award from the Better Capital Space Affiliation of Realtors (GCAAR) primarily based on transaction quantity,” the counterclaim mentioned.

The affiliation’s web site shows Schwartz gained a 2020 GCAAR Recognition Award within the “Gold” class for particular person brokers who closed not less than $20 million in gross sales quantity or 60 transactions.

The counterclaim additionally alleged that Schwartz had falsely claimed credit score on Zillow and Trulia for eight listings that Thomas Schwartz closed whereas she was an agent at Sotheby’s earlier than becoming a member of Compass or the Jill Schwartz Group in February 2017.

“[Schwartz] continues to actively promote her providers with this false data, which stays revealed as of the date herein on Counter-Defendant’s Zillow.com web page as her ‘previous gross sales,’” the counterclaim mentioned.

Attorneys for Thomas Schwartz alleged Schwartz continues to publicly declare Schwartz’s “skilled successes as her personal” with the intention to promote her personal actual property agent providers, entice purchasers and qualify for business recognition and awards.

“In whole, [Schwartz] has publicly stolen [Thomas Schwartz’s] credit score for $7,379,099 in transactions,” they wrote.

The counterclaim alleged false promoting beneath the Lanham Act, defamation, intentional interference with potential financial alternatives and unfair competitors.

“[Schwartz’s] false statements misrepresent the origin, nature and traits of [her] providers and business actions with regard to those properties. She claims [Thomas Schwartz’s] providers and business actions as her personal work to realize a aggressive benefit and entice enterprise,” the submitting mentioned.

“[Thomas Schwartz] is or is more likely to be broken by [Schwartz’s] false promoting, in dropping skilled recognition for her personal providers and in dropping potential clients and commissions.”

The counterclaim asks for “an award of compensatory, particular, and punitive damages in an quantity not lower than $1,000,000” every for the false promoting and defamation claims. It asks for unspecified compensatory damages and punitive damages for the opposite two claims.

In a Might 19 answer to the counterclaim, Schwartz denied the allegations towards her. “We have now reviewed the allegations in her Counterclaim they usually don’t have any advantage. We are going to handle them on the acceptable time with the Courtroom,” Schwartz’s legal professional, Chap Petersen, informed Inman in an emailed assertion.

Each lawsuits are ongoing.

Learn the counterclaim:

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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