United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. PAYNE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on JELD-WEN, INC.'S RENEWED
MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW AGAINST STEVES &
SONS, INC. (ECF No. 1821) (the "Motion") . For the
following reasons, the Motion will be denied.
factual and procedural background underlying this dispute has
been addressed in detail in previous opinions. See
First Summary Judgment Op. (ECF No. 1424) at 2-16; Second
Summary Judgment Op. (ECF No. 1581) at 2-3. Thus, it is
necessary only to provide a brief summary of the history for
and Sons, Inc. ("Steves") is an independent
manufacturer of interior molded doors, and it relies
primarily on JELD-WEN, Inc. ("JELD-WEN") to supply
it with doorskins, which are used to make the doors. In 2012,
JELD-WEN acquired CraftMaster Manufacturing, Inc.
("CMI"). The proof about the doorskin market before
the acquisition, and the substantial lessening of competition
in the doorskin market that the acquisition caused is set
forth in the divestiture opinion. See generally
Memorandum Opinion (ECF Nos. 1783 [redacted] and 1784 [under
seal]). That Memorandum Opinion is incorporated herein by
2016, Steves filed an action against JELD-WEN alleging, among
other claims, a federal antitrust claim and several breach of
contract claims. Those claims were tried to a jury in January
2018. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Steves on the
antitrust and breach of contract claims. The Motion is
directed only to the antitrust claims.
for judgment as a matter of law are governed by Fed.R.Civ.P.
50. The question is whether a reasonable jury has "a
legally sufficient evidentiary basis" to find in favor
of the nonmoving party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a). After a jury
verdict has been returned, judgment as a matter of law shall
be granted only when there is no legally sufficient
evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find in favor of
the nonmoving party. See Weisgram v. Marley Co., 528
U.S. 440, 453-54 (2000); Int'l Ground
Transp. v. Mayor of Ocean City, 475 F.3d 214, 218
(4th Cir. 2007); 9B Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2524
(3d ed.) . The Court views all evidence in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all legitimate
inferences in that party's favor and in support of the
jury's verdict. Mayor of Ocean City, 475 F.3d at
218. JELD-WEN presents three reasons why judgment as a matter of
law should be entered in its favor. They are:
I. JELD-WEN is entitled to judgment on Steves' antitrust
claim because the evidence presented did not allow the jury
to conclude that the 2012 acquisition caused Steves'
claimed injury or provide a legally sufficient basis for
II. JELD-WEN is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on
Steves' Section 4 antitrust claim because Steves did not
prove the required element of antitrust injury; and
III. Steves has not established a proper antitrust market,
any injury to competition, or that any competitive harms
outweighed the efficiencies from the acquisition.
will be considered in turn.
Steves Proved that the 2012 Acquisition of CMI Caused
Steves' Claimed Injury and Provided a Legally Sufficient
Basis for Measuring the Damages Sought by Steves
ORDER (ECF No. 1042), by denying the arguments presented by
JELD-WEN in JELD-WEN, INC.'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A
MATTER OF LAW AGAINST STEVES & SONS, INC. (ECF No. 968),
held that: (1) Steves had presented sufficient evidence from
which a jury could find that the acquisition of CMI in 2012
by JELD-WEN caused the injuries asserted by Steves; and (2)
Steves' evidence had provided a legally sufficient basis
for measuring damages. Having considered the entire record
and the briefs addressed to the Motion on the resurrection of
that argument, the Court remains of the view that Steves'
proved both antitrust injury and its damages by a
preponderance of the evidence.
presented substantial evidence that JELD-WEN doorskin prices
increased after the merger, which included prices charged to
Steves. Steves also showed convincingly that
JELD-WEN, Masonite, and CMI competed aggressively for
Steves' business before the merger and that the
pre-merger competition ended after the merger. Additionally,
Steves proved that JELD-WEN's price increases were not
caused by higher costs or by capacity
shortages. The evidence offered by Steves included
internal documents showing that JELD-WEN fully understood how
the acquisition had given it significant market power over
its customers. In a memorandum from Onex, the investment
bank that owned JELD-WEN, Onex observed that the
"acquisition of CM I made [JELD-WEN] and Masonite the
only two manufacturers of [doorskins] in North America, which
over time will improve our pricing power." PTX-206 at
ONEX66413. An email exchange between JELD-WEN officials
explained that, after the merger, JELD-WEN's customers
had "few options." PTX-250.
contends that Steves did not offer evidence of doorskin
prices that it would have paid or the reimbursements that it
would have received "but-for" the 2001 acquisition
of CMI. That is incorrect. Professor Shapiro analyzed the way
competition worked before the merger to identify a baseline
against which the observed effects in the market could be
judged. He explained fully how competition had occurred in
the market before the merger, including price competition
among JELD-WEN, CMI, and Masonite.
Shapiro then explained JELD-WEN's acquisition of CMI had
affected competition. He began by analyzing the relevant
market shares and market concentration information
traditionally used by economists to compare the actual world
(the world with the merger) to the "but-for" world
(the world without the merger). Trial Tr. 2390:17-2391:4 (ECF
No. 1036). He opined that the merger's effects on market
shares and market concentration provided the ...