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Steves Prevails in Historic Antitrust Litigation as JELD-WEN is Forced to Divest Towanda Plant, Restoring Competition to Doorskin Market

·5-min read

SAN ANTONIO, August 02, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After more than five years of litigation in which Steves and Sons (www.StevesDoors.com) won at every critical decision point, the company has prevailed in its efforts to force the divestiture of JELD-WEN Holdings’ (NYSE-JELD) Towanda, PA doorskin manufacturing plant and restore fair and open competition in the door manufacturing industry. The Towanda plant is JELD-WEN’s largest molded doorskin facility.

It is the first time an antitrust lawsuit brought by one company against another – rather than by the US government – has resulted in a divestiture and complete legal victory. Steves and Sons filed its lawsuit against JELD-WEN in June, 2016, alleging that JELD-WEN violated the U.S. antitrust laws in 2012 when it merged with a competitor (CMI) and acquired the Towanda doorskin plant. Doorskins are critical components in door manufacturing – the front and back molded facings of most interior residential doors.

Further, by order of the Court, Steves’ long-term supply agreement with JELD-WEN will be extend through the completion of the divestiture process, after which the company which acquires Towanda from JELD-WEN must negotiate a fair supply agreement with Steves in the volume and product types reflected in the current contract. That new supply agreement will extend to at least September 10, 2024.

"JELD-WEN finally accepted the inevitable with the announcement today that it had decided not to challenge the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals upholding a Virginia federal court’s divestiture ruling and would work with a court-appointed special master to complete the sale of its Towanda plant. This puts an end to a five-year legal marathon in which JELD-WEN said again and again that it had done nothing wrong. Our judicial system found otherwise," Steves CEO Edward Steves said. "It was our decision to forgo the full jury award of more than $139 million for future lost profits and to seek JELD-WEN’s divestiture of Towanda instead, which would ensure the continuation of our seventh-generation, family-owned company. Divestiture is the remedy that will restore competition in the door manufacturing industry. Today, we will take a well-deserved victory lap, and tomorrow we’ll get back to work, providing doors to our customers."

Sam Bell Steves II, Steves President, said, "Another critical aspect of this action is that the long-term doorskin supply agreement which Steves signed with JELD-WEN in 2012, just a few months before JELD-WEN acquired CMI, will remain secure throughout the process of divestiture, however long that takes, and then, through a new plant owner, as affirmed by the order of the Court, until at least September, 2024. We and our customers can operate in the confidence that Steves can deliver on orders as we always have. Today is a red-letter day which reaffirms our faith in the basic fairness in the law and we look forward to restoration of real competition and choice in our industry."

Steves’ lawsuit went to trial in Federal court in Virginia in early 2018 and resulted on February 15, 2018 in a unanimous jury verdict in favor of Steves’ position. Damages were awarded by the jury. In October of that year, Federal Judge Robert E. Payne ordered JELD-WEN to divest itself of the Towanda plant, which JELD-WEN had illegally acquired. A JELD-WEN appeal resulted in a unanimous decision February 18 of this year by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals reaffirming Judge Payne’s divestiture ruling in favor of Steves. When JELD-WEN asked the appeals court to reconsider the panel’s ruling, the Court unanimously declined to do so.

"In addition to divestiture, JELD-WEN is also liable for the actual, existing damages of $36,455,619 awarded by the trial jury," Steves attorney Marvin G. Pipkin said. "With interest, that figure is now almost $40,000,000. Further, JELD-WEN must also reimburse Steves the tens of millions of dollars in attorney fees it incurred in prosecuting this case."

Steves and Sons... Building Quality Millwork Since 1866
Purpose Statement: "A family company welcoming families home with style, craftsmanship, and value for generations."

Since 1866 the Steves family has always been involved in the company. Today, six generations later, all actively involved in the business, Steves and Sons continues its commitment to quality, craftsmanship and style. The Steves family founded the company on the principles of conservative growth and environmental responsibility. That hallmark remains today in every product Steves & Sons manufactures. From incorporating recycled materials, to making products that can conceivably last as long as the application, the Steves family is proud to build on the tradition of environmental respect and responsibility. As an American family success story, Steves & Sons will continue to offer quality and service at a fair price for generations to come.

Steves headquarters is in San Antonio, with interior and exterior door plants in San Antonio, and interior door plant locations in Lebanon, Tennessee and Richmond, Virginia. Today Steves employs over 1,300 team members. With unmatched quality at an outstanding value, Steves and Sons continues to build its business and reputation among builders and homeowners across the country with continued emphasis on quality materials, new technology and efficient distribution.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210802005804/en/

Contacts

Marvin Pipkin
210-213-3378
mpipkin@pipkinlawsatx.com

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