Munger, Tolles & Olson litigator Glenn D. Pomerantz and co-counsel Lewis F. Powell III of Hunton Andrews Kurth were named The American Lawyer’s Litigators of the Week on Oct. 12, 2018 for their role in an antitrust lawsuit that led to an award of significant damages and a divestiture order as a remedy to restore competition.
The victory was on behalf of family-owned door maker Steves & Sons over JELD-WEN, Inc. On Oct. 5, 2018, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ordered the divestiture by JELD-WEN of the principal asset it acquired in its 2012 merger with its competitor CraftMaster – a manufacturing plant in Towanda, Pennsylvania. In a 149-page memorandum opinion, Judge Payne noted that the case marks the first private merger challenge to reach a jury verdict.
Judge Payne’s divestiture decision followed a determination in February 2018 by a federal jury in Richmond, Virginia, that JELD-WEN’s acquisition of CraftMaster violated Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act because the merger substantially lessened competition. The jury awarded Steves $12 million in past antitrust damages and $46.6 million in future lost profits, all of which will be trebled automatically. Steves also is entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees.
In a Q&A in The American Lawyer, Mr. Pomerantz and Mr. Powell discuss the details of the case, strategies behind their big win and its significance in antitrust law.