Zillow scored a few small victories in its legal battle against Realtor.com operator Move, Inc. after a judge granted the company’s motion to strike a controversial and accusation-laden letter from a former Zillow executive.
King County Superior Court Judge John Chun issued an order on May 4 that was made public today striking a letter from former Zillow Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Chris Crocker. In it, Crocker made several accusations about the conduct of Zillow executives, including claims that Zillow scrapes listing data from Move’s website in order to benchmark the number of listings that it has on its own site.
The news was first reported by Inman News.
Three weeks ago, Zillow fired back, accusing Move of doing the same thing. All the while, the company has been fighting to get the letter struck from any consideration about third-party discovery requests. It’s now clear that the judge saw their claims had merit.
In a statement emailed to GeekWire, Zillow spokesperson Amanda Woolley said that the company was “very pleased with the court’s decision.” A representative for Move declined to comment on this piece.
In addition to striking the letter, Chun also declined to expand the scope of subpoenas to Trulia, JP Morgan Securities and Goldman Sachs. It’s another blow to Move, which was hoping to acquire additional information. The investment firms were involved with Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia earlier this year, which is why they have been subpoenaed.
All of this wrangling is still a prelude to the accusations in the case itself. Former Move Chairman Errol Samuelson has been accused of stealing trade secrets from the company and using them to benefit his position at Zillow, where he is now the chief industry development officer. Curt Beardsley, another former Move exec now working at Zillow as the company’s vice president of industry relations, is also accused of using inside information from Move in his new role at Zillow.