Windermere’s counsel retained Dr. Michael Keeley, a senior vice president of Cornerstone Research, as an expert witness to examine MacPherson’s antitrust claims.
Windermere Real Estate Services Company, a franchisor of residential real estate brokerage businesses, started its business in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s. MacPherson’s Inc., a competing real estate brokerage business, sued Windermere claiming that Windermere violated the antitrust laws by restricting competition among its franchisees and engaged in exclusionary conduct. Windermere’s counsel retained Dr. Michael Keeley, a senior vice president of Cornerstone Research, as an expert witness to examine MacPherson’s antitrust claims.
Dr. Keeley analyzed the provision of real estate brokerage and property management services in the Pacific Northwest to assess the competitive effects of the conduct at issue. Dr. Keeley explained that the conduct was actually procompetitive and could not lead to antitrust injury. His analysis showed that the defendants lacked market power and had not engaged in exclusionary conduct, that Windermere franchisees actively competed against one another and other brokerages, and that cost-reduction measures (e.g., sharing legal, marketing, and accounting expenses) were procompetitive. Dr. Keeley also noted the absence of barriers to entry for real estate brokerage services and the fact that the plaintiff was itself a member of a competing franchise network.
The court issued an order for summary judgment in the case. The order dismissed all antitrust claims against the defendants, stating there was “a finding of no antitrust injury.”