A federal jury in California recently held that two real estate brokers acted negligently in inflating commissions and awarded the plaintiff a staggering sum of $1.78 billion. The jury determined that the defendants, NRT LLC and HomeServices of America Inc., had acted recklessly in appraising commissions and other fees. The case began in 2016 when plaintiff Rachel Johnson filed a class-action suit against NRT LLC and HomeServices of America Inc. alleging that the real estate brokerage firms had conspired to inflate fees. Johnson alleged that the companies had set up a commission-pooling system wherein one person received a larger fee than the amount that would be received if fees were in line with the industry standard. Johnson also alleged that the real estate brokers raised fees to the level of monopoly-level commissions to keep other brokers out of the market. The jury found that NRT LLC and HomeServices of America had acted negligently in their commission pooling scheme and awarded Johnson $1.78 billion. The jury concluded that NRT LLC and HomeServices of America had acted recklessly in consolidating their commissions and decreasing competition in the real estate market. The case paints a vivid picture of how certain real estate companies are increasing their profits by using methods that are clearly detrimental to consumers. Consumers may find themselves paying higher fees than necessary or not getting the best services from real estate brokers. It is uncertain at this time how the defendants will handle the case and what the total damages will be. The jury’s award marks the largest jury award in a real estate case such as this one. The case serves as a reminder to real estate companies to act in a responsible manner when it comes to commission pooling and other fees. It also serves as a warning to consumers to be aware of the fees they are paying in order to ensure that they are receiving the best services possible.