In re: MI WINDOWS AND DOORS, INC., PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION.
MI WINDOWS & DOORS, INC., Defendant-Appellee, ABELLA OWNERS' ASSOCIATION, Respondent - Appellant, CONTRACTOR PLAINTIFFS' LIAISON COUNSEL; HOMEOWNER PLAINTIFFS' LIAISON COUNSEL; HOMEOWNER PLAINTIFFS' LEAD COUNSEL; CONTRACTOR PLAINTIFFS' LEAD COUNSEL, Plaintiffs, and SIGNATURE HOMES, INC.; SIGNATURE AT ABELLA, LLC; SIGNATURE PROPERTIES, INC.; KULLY MANDON; LINDA KIME; ROBERT HUGGINS, Defendants, J. T. WALKER INDUSTRIES, INC., Intervenor.
Argued: May 9, 2017
from the United States District Court for the District of
South Carolina, at Charleston. David C. Norton, District
Judge. (2:12-mn-00001-DCN; MDL No. 2333)
A. Somerville, HARMAN CLAYTOR CORRIGAN & WELLMAN, P.C.,
Richmond, Virginia, for Appellant.
Patrick J. Perrone, K&L GATES LLP, Newark, New Jersey,
A. Williams, Beth Tenney, WILLIAMS & GUMBINER LLP,
Greenbrae, California; C. Fredric Marcinak, III, SMITH MOORE
LEATHERWOOD, LLP, Greenville, South Carolina, for Appellant.
Richard A. Farrier, Jr., Charleston, South Carolina, Loly G.
Tor, K&L GATES LLP, Newark, New Jersey, for Appellee.
NIEMEYER, WYNN, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
by published opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote the opinion, in
which Judge Wynn and Judge Harris joined.
NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge.
appeal, Abella Owners' Association, a California
nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, seeks relief from the
enforcement of a final class action judgment entered in this
2012, the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation
transferred 18 class actions filed against MI Windows &
Doors, Inc., in various districts to the District of South
Carolina as "MI Windows & Doors, Inc., Products
Liability Litigation" ("the MDL") for
consolidated pretrial proceedings. In the transferred
actions, the plaintiffs sought damages caused by MI
Windows' manufacture of allegedly defective windows.
parties to the MDL reached a settlement, which the district
court preliminarily approved while also preliminarily
certifying a settlement class under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 23. In its order of preliminary approval, the court
directed the parties to notify class members (1) of the
settlement, (2) of the class members' option to withdraw
from the action, and (3) of the date of a hearing to
determine the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the
settlement. After the opt-out deadline passed, the court
conducted the fairness hearing and entered a final judgment,
approving the settlement, enjoining the class members from
pursuing other related claims against MI Windows, and
dismissing the transferred actions.
Owners' Association, one of the class members who
received notice and did not opt out of the class action,
nonetheless continued to prosecute its own litigation against
MI Windows, which it had previously filed in a California
state court. MI Windows filed a motion in the district court
to enforce the class action settlement against Abella,
seeking an injunction prohibiting it from continuing the
California action. In response, Abella filed an opposition
contending, among other things, that the district court
lacked authority to enjoin its prosecution of the state
action against MI Windows by reason of the Anti-Injunction
Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, and that, in any event, Abella
should not be bound by the class action judgment because of
the excusable neglect of its counsel in overlooking the
opt-out deadline. The district court rejected Abella's
arguments and, by order dated January 15, 2016, enjoined
Abella from proceeding with its claims against MI Windows in
the California state action.
we conclude that the district court's injunction was
justified by the "relitigation exception" of the
Anti-Injunction Act and that the district court did not abuse
its discretion in concluding that the neglect of Abella's
counsel was not excusable, we affirm.
in 2010, 18 class actions were filed in various districts
against MI Windows, alleging that MI Windows manufactured and
sold windows with a defect in the glazing flap that allowed
water to enter and cause consequential damage. In April 2012,
the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation transferred
the actions to the District of South Carolina and assigned