Court Provides Preliminary Approval for Jeld-Wen/Masonite Class Action SuitsOctober 14th, 2020 by Drew Vass
A U.S. District Court granted preliminary approval last week for proposed agreements to settle class-action lawsuits against door manufacturers Jeld-Wen Inc. and Masonite Corp. The agreements were made public August 31, through filings made by both companies with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to an article published by the legal news provider Law360, amid a hearing hosted over video conferencing, U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. said he was “really troubled” by the settlements, “which seek to put the door buyers’ claims to rest for a fraction of the amount that they say they were damaged,” wrote Law360 reporter Nadia Dreid. According to the terms of the settlement, Jeld-Wen and Masonite are to receive a full release of claims through the date of preliminary court approval.
In the August 31 filings, both companies announced they had reached an agreement with Grubb Lumber Company, Philadelphia Reserve Supply Company, and a class of direct purchasers of interior molded doors, agreeing to pay $28 million each to the plaintiffs and the settlement class.
The suit was filed in 2018 alleging that Jeld-Wen and Masonite conspired to fix prices, while holding approximately 85% of the market for certain interior doors. Plaintiffs that purchased interior molded doors indirectly sought relief under the Sherman Act, as well as under various state antitrust and consumer protection laws. In a separate settlement agreement made September 4, 2020, both companies agreed to pay $9.75 million each to the named plaintiffs of a separate antitrust class action suit.
The court ordered that the proposed notice and plan be submitted by October 29, 2020, with a Final Fairness hearing scheduled for March 16, 2021.