In August 2021, Jeld-Wen Inc. signaled the end of a years-long legal battle by declaring it would forgo any further appeal of a court-ordered divestiture stemming from antitrust violations. The declaration came in a statement accompanying a financial earnings report, seeming to mark the conclusion of a legal process dating back to June 2016. Now Jeld-Wen has reversed course, asking the court to vacate all orders requiring divestiture of its facility in Towanda, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, officials are seeking to file a memorandum in support of its motion under seal, suggesting it contains confidential and sensitive information.

In June 2016, San Antonio-based door maker Steves and Sons (Steves) filed a lawsuit against Jeld-Wen, alleging it violated U.S. antitrust laws when it merged with a competitor, CraftMaster Manufacturing Inc. (CMI), acquiring a Towanda, Pennsylvania-based doorskin plant. A trial-by-jury process ruled that Jeld-Wen’s acquisition of CMI did in fact violate antitrust provisions.

In February 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court upheld the order and the demand for Jeld-Wen to sell its plant. An appeal by Jeld-Wen resulted in a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel. After a request for rehearing, officials for Jeld-Wen signaled that the company would petition to a higher court, only to double back in August 2021, announcing it would commence a process for divestiture. Last week, Jeld-Wen filed a motion to amend that final judgment, in another attempt to keep its plant.

Jeld-Wen further moves for an order that vacates all provisions in orders requiring it to assign a “Molded Doorskin Product Agreement” to an acquiring company and the requirement that it apply solely to Jeld-Wen and Steves.

For now, the company’s supporting arguments remain cloaked in mystery, as it requests permission to file a supporting memorandum under seal. According to company officials, the memo contains confidential and commercially sensitive information, such as a general history of the divestiture process and specific offers made by various bidders amid the execution of a divestiture plan. The memorandum also contains references to a report and recommendations by a Special Master who was tasked with overseeing the process and its Exhibit A, which were redacted in significant part on a public docket.

According to Jeld-Wen, its memorandum discusses the terms of Steves’ doorskin supply agreements, discussion of the Towanda plant’s doorskin production, sales, capacity and operations, Steves’ doorskin purchases, and information about Steves’ business plans. “The public filing of this commercially sensitive information would undermine Steves’, Jeld-Wen’s, and any future Towanda entity’s ability to compete in the industry,” the memo alleges.

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