Dismissal Opposed in Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against Jeld-Wen and Masonite

January 10th, 2020 by Kyra Thompson

In the most recent development of a class-action lawsuit between two major manufacturers and interior door buyers (plaintiffs), plaintiffs voluntarily dropped two state law claims previously added against the defendants, while arguing that a recent partial motion to dismiss should be denied entirely.

In a memorandum response to door manufacturers Jeld-Wen and Masonite’s motion to dismiss several of the indirect purchaser plaintiff’s (IPP) claims against them, plaintiffs urged federal Virginia judge John A. Gibney Jr. to deny the dismissal entirely but backed off of two previous claims invoking state laws in Virginia and Kansas.

On December 16, 2019, Jeld-Wen and Masonite filed a motion to dismiss state law claims in New Hampshire, Utah, Virginia, Maine, several consumer protection claims brought by corporate plaintiffs, and “damages claims of newly added plaintiffs outside the relevant limitations periods…,” the defendants suggested.

The IPP memorandum of opposition, filed Tuesday, stood its ground on previous claims but voluntarily dismissed those under the Kansas and Virginia Consumer Protection Acts while preserving their right to appeal.

Plaintiffs argued that “Defendants attempt to complicate a simple issue by claiming that, by adding new plaintiffs pursuant to this Court’s order, IPPs cannot avail themselves of the relation-back doctrine under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15. Defendants are wrong.”

Nearly one month prior, IPPs were granted a supplemental motion adding seven new plaintiffs and reviving state claims under Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin that were previously dismissed by the court.

The memorandum further added that the “…amended complaint relates back to the originally filed complaint because Defendants had notice, were not prejudiced, and the newly added plaintiffs were not unjustifiably delinquent in bringing their claims,” further suggesting that they did not “sit on their hands by not including the additional named plaintiffs in the original complaint.”

The IPP memorandum of opposition, filed Tuesday, stood its ground on claims made through all of the state laws invoked, but voluntarily dismissed claims under the Kansas and Virginia Consumer Protection Acts while preserving their right to appeal.

“This Court has previously dismissed all of IPPs’ state consumer protection claims that rely on the ‘deceptive or fraudulent acts or practices’ prong, holding that IPPs failed to plead fraud with particularity or show actual reliance,” reads the document. “Accordingly, IPPs withdraw this claim and expressly preserve their arguments set forth in IPPs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for appeal.”

Complaints against Jeld-Wen and Masonite for conspiracy to price-fix were first filed in 2018 by several direct and indirect purchasers. The judge said the plaintiffs had “sufficiently alleged” the claims but dismissed several of the state law claims due to the fact that they lacked standing to invoke laws in states where no plaintiffs were present. The plaintiffs motioned to add several plaintiffs in October as a means for reviving claims in several of those states.

The defendants argued this saying that it “jeopardized” court scheduling and was “futile” at this “late stage.” However, the judge granted the motion.

Representatives for both Masonite and Jeld-Wen failed to respond to [DWM]’s requests for comment.

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