REALTOR.com and Zillow Showdown In Court

REALTOR.com and Zillow Showdown In Court
"The Unexpected Always Happens" - Painting by Eric Joyner

They say that breaking up is hard to do...

Former REALTOR.COM exec Errol Samuelson is finding that out the hard way. He just jumped ship and took a new position at ZIllow and the interwebs have lit up with people crying foul.

On Monday  Samuelson and Zillow were slapped with a 16 page Complaint in light of Samuelson's recent departure from Move, Inc. and subsequent employment with Zillow.  REALTOR.com and Zillow are two of the top 3 sites  for real estate searches. The fight to get ahead is cut-throat and Samuelson's departure could mean a big blow to REALTOR.com.  Now, everyone is watching what happens to see how these two giants will duke it out and who will come out ahead.

Why is Samuelson's simple job change turning into a showdown for the Court to decide and what does this mean for two of real estate's biggest websites?!

Here's the Highlights Version:

The Background
REALTOR.com is operated by Move, Inc. - as part of a strategic partnership with the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).   NAR, Move Inc, and their subsidiaries are plaintiffs in the complaint.

Samuelson has worked at Move for over a decade (since 2001) and has "moved" up their ranks to become the President of REALTOR.com and eventually became it's second highest paid exec as their Chief Strategy Officer.

On March 5th he abruptly resigned and his new role, Chief Industry Development Officer, was announced via press release that afternoon.

Why Is Everybody Fighting?!

Here's what is alleged in the Complaint:

  1. Violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act
  2. Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  3. Breach of Contract

There is plenty of mud-slinging in this complaint and Samuelson is called out for allegedly violating policies by erasing data from all of his electronic devices, supplying trade secrets to Zillow, and timing of his announcement for max damage (during a major investor presentation while the CEO was presenting.) Ouch!

Now What?!
Clearly, Samuelson and Zillow are not having a good week; the Plaintiffs are looking for damages, fees , expenses, injunctions, and any other relief the Court will award.

The Defendants have yet to respond but expect this to drag out in court.

For now, Zillow might have a few new tricks up their sleeves while REALTOR.com is left scrambling to find a replacement and to get a leg up on their competition.

Want to read the Complaint as filed?!  Click Here

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