Long Island City-based brokerage Modern Spaces is the latest real estate company to accuse a competitor of lacking a moral compass.
On February 6, Modern Spaces filed a lawsuit against Compass, a Manhattan-based real estate firm, and former employee Jessica Meis, for poaching agents and confidential information.
Meis began working with Modern Spaces as a real estate sales agent in November 2017, according to the suit. As an agent, Meis had access to confidential company information, including their listings, leads, and a client and owner list, the suit added.
But Meis announced that she would be leaving Modern Spaces for Compass and left on January 22, 2018, according to the suit. Modern Spaces accused Meis of emailing dozens of files from their networks and customer management system to her personal account before her resignation. The lawsuit added that Compass stole Modern Spaces’ listing photos and posted them on their website.
Modern Spaces also alleges that Compass provided Meis with step-by-step instructions to persuade property owners to end their exclusive listing agreements with Modern Spaces so they could instead enter separate agreements with Compass. The suit also claims that Compass is intentionally targeting Modern Spaces because of their stronghold on the Queens real estate market and so they can break into the area for themselves.
Modern Spaces is seeking to be compensated for the business that will be stolen by Compass, the theft of trade secrets, interference with their exclusive listing agreements, and for damage to its reputation.
According to the Modern Spaces, they’re just the latest victim in a pattern of lawsuits against Compass for similar cases. In the past, Compass has been sued by other real estate companies, including Douglass Elliman, Brown Harris Stevens, Citi Habitats, The Corcoran Group, for similar allegations of poaching agents or stealing company info.
“In our case, certain Modern Spaces agents appear to have been used as tools by Compass, who allegedly supplied them with step-by-step instructions on how to steal proprietary company information and listings,” Modern Spaces said in a statement. “As a company with deep ties to the Long Island City community we serve and support, we will not sit idly by and allow this malicious campaign to publicly undermine Modern Spaces, all in the name of gaining market share.”
Compass released a statement in response to the lawsuit that said, “Compass has never been found liable by court of committing any of the allegations set forth in Modern Space’s complaint.”