Richmond, VA – Window and door manufacturer Jeld-Wen Holding, Inc. has lost its latest appeal in a long-running battle with Steves & Sons Doors based in San Antonio.
In a 2019 settlement of the case, the U.S. District Court ordered Jeld-Wen to sell the Towanda, PA CraftMaster Manufacturing Inc. (CMI) door skin plant it acquired in 2012. Jeld-Wen continues to appeal, though it has lost previous efforts.
In February 2021, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA affirmed a lower court’s order against Jeld-Wen, ordering it to divest CraftMaster Manufacturing. Jeld-Wen then asked the full court to review the panel’s latest decision, but all the judges declined to do so on March 22.
On April 5, Judge Robert Payne ruled the case remains on appeal while Jeld-Wen petitions the U.S. Supreme Court for a final review. Even so, a legal team appointed in 2019 to prepare the Towanda plant for sale continues its work. The team is headed by attorney Lawrence Stengel, who took on the role of Special Master in March 2019, when Jeld-Wen lost the first round in court. In an April 14 memo to the court, Stengel reports he has assembled a team of professionals to implement a divestiture plan, noting that Jeld-Wen is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court.
“While this petition is pending the parties [Jeld-Wen] indicated to you, and to me, they wish to prepare for divestiture so the process can proceed without delay if the U.S. Supreme Court denies certification,” Stengel writes. “To that end, I met with counsel by conference call and have begun the process of identifying and retaining an investment banker, which appears to be the next step.”
In its latest news, Jeld-Wen may be preparing its Plan B if it is unsuccessful before the Supreme Court. A May 4 news release announced an unspecified expansion in its North Wilkesboro, NC plant. Meanwhile, Jeld-Wen posted 14 open positions in the plant, including a production specialist who would work with door skins.
When Jeld-Wen first acquired CraftMaster, Steves & Sons had an ongoing agreement with CMI to supply door facings but over time had difficulty getting delivery, and claimed that Jeld-Wen was favoring itself and competitor Monsanto. Steves & Sons first sued Jeld-Wen in 2016. Since acquiring the Towanda plant, Jeld-Wen has developed an exterior moulding and trim line there under the brand name MiraTec. In its appeal, Jeld-Wen argues the manufacturing of its door skins and the MiraTec product were too closely integrated to be separated through a divestiture.
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