What’s News October 2019

July 19th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Legal Roundup

U.S Department of Justice Files Brief Against Jeld-Wen

Jeld-Wen took another hit on the chin in August amid its multi-year legal battles with Steves and Sons Inc. (Steves) when the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) shot down an appeal, urging the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals not to accept the argument that “laches should not be uniformly applied to block private-party divestiture suits filed after the consummation of a merger or acquisition.”

Jeld-Wen has scrambled to gain a win in an antitrust lawsuit issued by Steves that’s been in and out of proceedings since 2016, so far coming up short in its efforts. After a jury verdict ruled in Steves’ favor granting the company close to $174 million in damages and ultimately requiring Jeld-Wen to divest its Towanda, Pa.-based manufacturing plant, Jeld-Wen fi led an appeal on April 12, 2019.

On August 16, the same day that Steves filed an appellee’s brief, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne issued a memorandum of opinion in response to a trade secrets claim filed by Jeld-Wen in a San Antonio state district court. In his memo, Judge Payne said that the Texas court claim was nearly identical to the trade-secrets case reviewed by his court in Virginia. Jeld-Wen was enjoined from re-litigating its claims in Texas.

The company suffered another loss when its attempts were cut short by the DOJ, which argued in favor of Steves  in an amicus brief issued in August.

Renewal by Andersen Agrees to Stop Dodging D.C. Areas

Renewal by Andersen (a subsidiary of Andersen Corp.) reached an agreement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for the District of Columbia in August, agreeing to pay a $50,000 fine. The settlement follows investigations into alleged discrimination, after a D.C. resident complained to OAG in March 2019, claiming she’d been refused service, because she lived in the 20020 ZIP code area, including the Anacostia, Barry Farm and Hillcrest neighborhoods. As a result of the recent agreement, the company will stop excluding from its regular service area D.C. customers east of the Anacostia River. Officials also agreed to better educate employees about the civil rights laws it allegedly violated.

“Under the district law, businesses are required to serve residents equally, regardless of where they live,” said Attorney General Karl A. Racine. “My office is committed to protecting residents’ civil rights and we will take action if we find evidence of discrimination.”

The district’s Human Rights Act (HRA) prohibits discrimination based on place of residence. Renewal by Andersen communications manager Adam May told [DWM] that the district expressed concern that the factors his company considers when defining service areas, such as product limitations, violent crime rates and installation capacity, among others, might violate the HRA. The company has agreed to implement written policies about discrimination and an updated training program to ensure all employees and management understand how to comply with district civil rights law.

“While we do not agree with their allegations, we fully cooperated with their investigation and are happy to have reached a mutually acceptable resolution,” May said.

Kudos

MI Windows and Doors: in late July announced that its plants in Hegins, Pa., will be awarded the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star. The location is the fourth MI campus to earn the designation, following a three-day inspection by a five-member team from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including locations in Gratz, Pa., Prescott Valley, Ariz., and Millersburg, Pa. The administration’s VPP Star is awarded to companies that go above and beyond in their quest to ensure employee safety. Fewer than 2,300 of the eight million work sites in America—less than half of one percent—have earned the designation.

Region III VPP manager Terry Penn described the safety culture at MI’s Hegins plant as “very impressive,” suggesting that, “To have so many people involved in some kind of formal safety job is really significant.”

Mike Troutman, MI’s director of Safety and Environmental Excellence, said the company’s production teams are its “backbone,” adding that, “The MI team not only works closely together, but our families live amongst each other in our local communities. We want to make sure all of our team members are valued and safe.”

Expansions

United Window and Door: recently announced the purchase of 75,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space. The new facility is across the road from its current location in Springfield, N.J. Gregg Proscia, vice president of sales and marketing, says the move reflects growth over the past few years, along with a new project the firm is working on. “We will be introducing some new and innovative products for Q4 2019 and Q1 2020,” he teases, without offering any further information.

Several new automated machines are set to be integrated into the new space, along with a total of 100-125 new employees. The facility is expected to be operational sometime around November 2019.

Acquisitions

In August: Investment firm Building Industry Partners LLC’s portfolio company Homewood Holdings LLC acquired Total Trim Construction Inc. from its owners, Jason and Patti Flashman. Total Trim offers interior trim, mouldings and door installation services to multi-family builders, as well as to commercial and hospitality developers and contractors.

“Patti and I have known and admired the Homewood team for a long time, and we believe the Homewood Holdings platform will provide even greater opportunities for our employees and allow Total Trim to accelerate its growth in the Sacramento market and beyond,” said Jason Flashman.

Additional acquisitions by Homewood are expected, as officials say they’re actively seeking to acquire or partner with independent pro dealer, component manufacturer and service provider organizations throughout the Western U.S.

Also in August: Arauco penned an agreement to acquire Prime-Line Inc. The move, company officials said, will strengthen the global wood products producer’s North American presence in the moulding industry. Prime-Line is an Arkansas-based manufacturer of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) moulding and millwork products. The transaction is expected to be completed September 3, 2019.

Prime-Line built a new plant adjacent to Arauco’s MDF plant in Malvern, Ark., in 2014, after which it’s served as a primary supplier to the company for MDF panels. Officials for Arauco say they plan to operate the Prime-Line branch under the same name and to facilitate a smooth transition for customers and employees.

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