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North American Land Development Corp. v. Jeld-Wen, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

June 4, 2019

NORTH AMERICAN LAND DEVELOPMENT CORP. ET AL.
v.
JELD-WEN, INC. ET AL.

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY, JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the District Court, is a motion to enforce settlement agreement, or in the alternative to reopen this matter, filed by plaintiffs North American Land Development Corporation and N. Edward Hakim (“Plaintiffs”). [doc. # 41]. The motion is opposed. For reasons detailed below, it is recommended that the motion be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         Background

         On August 23, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Petition in Louisiana's 4th Judicial District Court, Ouachita Parish, against defendants Jeld-Wen, Inc. (“Jeld-Wen”) and Millwork Sales of Georgia d/b/a MSI Jackson (incorrectly named as Millwork Services Inc.) (“Millwork”). Plaintiffs alleged damages due to their purchase of defective windows manufactured by Jeld-Wen. [doc. # 1-1]. Defendants removed the matter to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, on November 10, 2017. [doc. # 1; see doc. # 15].

         The parties reached a settlement, which was memorialized by a Compromise Agreement, executed on September 12-13, 2018. (“Agreement, ” [doc. # 41-2]). The Agreement includes the following provisions:

1. JELD-WEN will sell and have delivered to Plaintiffs the 196 Replacement Units identified in Bob Mitchell's report dated February 21, 2018 . . . . Plaintiffs are responsible for preparing and submitting the Order to JELD-WEN.
2. . . .
3. JELD-WEN will fulfill the order for aforesaid 196 Replacement Units and furnish the Warranty for same within nine (9) weeks of placing of the Order by Jimmy Plauche of Louisiana Building Specialties through JELD-WEN Customer Care c/o Kelly [sic] Stout . . . . The Order must include templating for the custom transom glass openings in Plaintiffs' home. Plaintiffs are responsible for any fees or costs charged by Mr. Plauche in preparing the Order.

         The parties did not place their settlement on the record but provided the Court with a Notice of Settlement, [doc. # 33]. On September 28, 2018, the Court entered an Order of Dismissal, dismissing the action. The Order of Dismissal provided that the parties could move “to reopen the action if settlement is not consummated” on “good cause shown within sixty (60) days of the signing of this Order.” [doc. # 34]. The parties moved three times to extend the time for final dismissal, which the Court granted. [docs. 35-40]. On March 26, 2019, the Court ordered that the “parties have 60 days from the signing date of this Order to file a Stipulated Dismissal.” [doc. # 40].

         On April 25, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to enforce the Agreement. [doc. # 41]. Plaintiffs make the following claims: (1) Jeld-Wen's distributor, Plauche, had a third-party, Clyde Potier, make the measurements needed for the Order and submit a list of materials to be replaced to Stout. Stout initially responded that “she would send an ‘Order' back for ‘proofing'” but “later reneged on this commitment” at Jeld-Wen's instruction. [doc. 41-1 at 1-2]. Jeld-Wen also insists on the Order being sent in a special form, despite no such requirement in the Agreement. (Id. at 2); (2) Plaintiffs have contacted Plauche to request he place the Order in the form Jeld-Wen requests, but Plauche refuses to do so. Plauche allegedly informed Plaintiffs that he was first instructed by Jeld-Wen not to place the Order and was then advised that the Order was being implemented by Jeld-Wen. (Id. at 2-3). Plaintiffs request that the Court order Jeld-Wen to place the needed items into production and furnish the agreed-on replacement items to Plaintiffs as per the Agreement. In the alternative, Plaintiffs request the Court cancel the Notice of Settlement and return this matter to the trial docket. (Id. at 4-5).

         On May 16, 2019, Jeld-Wen filed an opposition to Plaintiffs' motion.[1] [doc. # 43]. Jeld-Wen responds that Plaintiffs have not fulfilled their end of the Agreement because Plauche has not submitted any Order. According to Jeld-Wen, “[i]f plaintiffs have Jimmy Plauche submit an Order with templating for the custom transom glass openings in Plaintiffs' home, JELD-WEN will fulfill the Order within nine (9) weeks of receipt of the Order.” (Id. at 3). Jeld-Wen claims that the document submitted by Potier to Stout is a “list” of materials and does not constitute an Order. Moreover, despite Stout's initial response to the list, she emailed Plaintiffs later that day explaining they needed to provide her with “a Quick Quote order for exactly what it is that needs to be replaced. . . . It would not be JELD-WEN's responsibility to convert [Potier's] information into the actual order.” (Id. at 4); [doc. # 43-1]. Jeld-Wen also denies knowing why Plauche is not submitting the Order and claims the “reality is that Mr. Plauche . . . does not want to be responsible for placing the Order.” [doc. # 43 at 6]. Further, Jeld-Wen avers that it intends to file its own motion to enforce to Plaintiffs' compliance with the Agreement. (Id. at 1).

         Plaintiffs filed a reply on May 17, 2019. [doc. # 44].

         Law ...


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