All Cities Realty, Inc., a California real estate brokerage, and the owner of the federal trademark ALL CITIES REALTY®, in 2005, filed a Federal legal action against the California Corporation, CF Real Estate Loans, Inc. who now does business as Re/Max All Cities Realty. This is the largest Re/Max franchise in California with their corporate headquarters in Manhattan Beach, CA. The federal legal action (case# 8:05-cv-00615-AHS-MLG) is for alleged federal trademark infringement and other issues. The federal case will be litigated in Orange County, California.
On July 19, 2006 All Cities Realty, Inc. filed a separate second lawsuit in State court against the corporation’s associated agents and brokers (case # BC355724). In this second lawsuit, each and every real estate agent and broker who has been affiliated with Re/Max All Cities Realty (CF Real Estate Loans, Inc.), since their "adoption" of the ALL CITIES REALTY® trademark back in August 2002 was named; a total of approximately 1700 real estate agents.
Each real estate agent and associated real estate broker, because they are independent contractors, have been sued for alleged violations of common law service mark infringement, and statutory unfair competition; as individual defendants in the State lawsuit. On September, 26, 2006 in State court, Superior Court Judge Victor H. Person, under a motion from CF Real Estate Loans, Inc. stayed a State legal action against 1700 Re/Max real estate agents. (case # BC355724). According to Mr. Miner all new agents that work for this company and use our name, and are exposed as agents on the realestatelosangeles.com website under the ALL CITIES REALTY® mark are monitored so that we can add them to the State lawsuit when it continues.
Following the hearing Mr. Miner stated: "this boils down to a pause in the State action, and actually it was a major relief for us. In retrospect we are very happy Re/Max asked for the stay, we were wondering how the heck we were going to juggle both trials at the same time; now we can concentrate on the Federal trial first.”
Eventually his State action will be heard and the 1700+ current and past agents will go to court, and the case will be litigated. Good news for All Cities Realty as they have received their State Trademark too. According to records they have the fictitious business name, corporate name, State Trademark, Federal Trademark, and domain name all conforming and supporting the mark ALL CITIES REALTY® as far back as 1996.
This Re/Max CEO, Kelli Todd Amundson boldly has stated they will indemnify each and every agent who has used the All Cities Realty® name. This Re/Max has filed court documents that state they will indemnify each and every real estate agent who has used the All Cities Realty® name upon the real estate agents’ request. The case has been moved to "complex litigation" and the costs just for a first appearance will be more than $500 per agent. This could amount to more than $800,000 for first appearance court fees for Re/Max All Cities Realty. This means that the first act of indemnification by this Re/Max could cost it more than $800,000 before any other litigation activity occurs, including court and attorney fees.
There is a provision for a fee waiver if the applicant can establish a financial inability to pay the filing fees. However if this Re/Max applies for a fee waiver claiming poverty, then how can it honor its commitment to indemnify agents? What will the court think? How can it pay its lawyers? How can it pay for a judgment against the agents? It will be interesting to see what transpires after their statement of indemnification. We hope, to protect themselves, their real estate agents and brokers are asking a lot of tough questions, and when in doubt are asking for proof, said Miner.
According to sources this Re/Max is downplaying this situation to its Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach California real estate agents. Because of that ALL CITIES REALTY® initiated a website, remaxlawsuits.com, advising the real estate agents that they were named in the legal action, and lots of interesting information about the company and the people they work for; including Bob Todd and Kelli Todd / Kelli Amundson.
What the agents may not fully realize is that there is an enormous lawsuit looming over their heads each and every day until this is completely resolved; and that may be years.” stated, Mr. Miner. We are tracking the agents that come and go from this company, and if they have used our mark, they will be named in our amended complaint when the State action continues, Mr. Miner explained.
Mr. Miner also stated that: "anyone who has been associated with Re/Max All Cities Realty or CF Real Estate Loans, Inc. may check a website for information at remaxlawsuits.com and download a list of agents who have been sued, copies of the legal actions, and much more information.” The website has information on CF Real Estate Loans / Re/Max Beach Cities Realty and many other names they go by, the owners, and company history.
Mr. Miner’s previous statement “that may be years” is certainly coming true. According to Court records the litigation has been continued multiple times by the clerk in the Orange County Federal Court. “Our trial is now set for July 2008… and the State trial won’t start until we complete the Federal Trial” said Mr. Miner. After all these continuances, the state lawsuits will easily last beyond 2010 now. Its definitely a David v. Goliath battle, but the law is on our side. Justice may come slowly, but it will come. Legally we are right, ethically we are right, morally we are right, and we will take this to the finish line, he commented.
All Cities Realty® is still gathering information and the attorneys indicate they are more than happy to talk with some of the past agents or employees as long as they are not represented by legal counsel.
Interested parties may contact the law offices of Jeffrey F. Sax in Los Angeles, CA. Phone 213-623-5700 or visit the website.