Jeld-Wen has been awarded USD 1.2 million in damages in a lawsuit with Steves & Sons
Jeld-Wen has been awarded USD 1.2 million in damages in a lawsuit with Steves & Sons over the possible misappropriation of trade secrets.
A jury in a federal court in Virginia has awarded Jeld-Wen USD 1.2 million in damages in a lawsuit with Steves & Sons over the possible misappropriation of trade secrets. The company had sought nearly USD 40 million in damages.
The case arose following an antitrust lawsuit earlier this year in which a court ruled that Jeld-Wen had to pay Steves & Sons USD 58.6 million in damages because it overcharged Steves for moulded door skins.
In February, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond found that Jeld-Wen had violated its contract with Steves, as well as Section 7 of the Clayton Act, when it acquired a former competitor, CraftMaster, in 2012. (Section 7 of Clayton Act prohibits one company from buying another if the acquisition would reduce competition in an industry.) Because of the Clayton Act violation, the damages are tripled, meaning Jeld-Wen could be forced to pay Steves USD 170 million. Jeld-Wen is appealing that ruling.
The latest legal outcome is related to the earlier case.
According to court documents, during the process of litigating the previous lawsuit, Jeld-Wen filed a counterclaim against Steves “to address … Steves’ theft of Jeld-Wen trade secrets and confidential information.”
Jeld-Wen claimed in the countersuit that Steves and two former Jeld-Wen employees “had engaged in a conspiracy and had stolen trade secrets … respecting how to build and operate a door skin plant that could produce products of the type that Steves was buying from Jeld-Wen.”
That case came to trial in April and wrapped up last week. The jury found that Steves & Sons misappropriated eight trade secrets owned by Jeld-Wen in its moulded door skin manufacturing business and awarded Jeld-Wen USD 1.2 million in damages. Jeld-Wen said that it will ask the court to impose permanent injunctive relief, which would prohibit Steves from using those trade secrets in the future.
However, the jury also rejected 59 of the 67 trade secrets Jeld-Wen claimed were proprietary information. The attorney for Steves & Sons noted in a release that the final award represented about 3% of the almost USD 40 million in damages Jeld-Wen sought.
“Steves and Sons explored the possibility of building its own moulded door skin manufacturing facility,” said Marvin Pipkin, attorney for Steves & Sons, in a statement. “Such a move would be a major undertaking and, not having been in the business of making door skins, which are key components in door manufacturing, Steves hired consultants, some of whom had previously worked for Jeld-Wen years ago. We are convinced the information gathered from those consultants is generally available throughout the door skin industry.”
Jeld-Wen still has related claims against Steves & Sons pending in Bexar County, Texas.