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In re Domestic Drywall Antitrust Litigation

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 15, 2019

IN RE DOMESTIC DRYWALL ANTITRUST LITIGATION
v.
USG Corp., et al., Defendants. THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO Ashton Woods Holdings LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,

          MEMORANDUM RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON UNASSIGNED CLAIMS

          Baylson, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Defendants USG Corporation, United States Gypsum Company, L&W Supply Corporation, and PABCO Building Products LLC (collectively, “Defendants”)[1] bring this Motion for Partial Summary Judgment three (3) years after the commencement of this action and five (5) years after the commencement of the overall multidistrict litigation, arguing that six of the twelve Homebuilder Plaintiffs lack standing to bring claims for some or all of their wallboard purchases because they seek damages for purchases made by separately-organized subsidiaries and other related entities. The purchasing entities did not assign the claims at issue to the Homebuilder Plaintiffs, and Defendants argue that the unassigned claims must be dismissed because the Homebuilder Plaintiffs lack Article III standing to bring them. This Court must now determine whether genuine disputes of material fact preclude summary judgment for Defendants. For the reasons discussed below, partial summary judgment for Defendants on the unassigned claims is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         As the Court has provided a thorough summary of the procedural history in this multidistrict litigation in several prior opinions, the Court includes only the procedural history relevant to the instant Motion. (See, e.g., ECF 390 (“Choice of Law MSJ Opinion”) (denying in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment on questions of choice of law)[2]; ECF 351 (“February 2016 MSJ Opinion”) (granting in part and denying in part manufacturers' motions for summary judgment in the direct and indirect purchaser actions)[3]; ECF 101 (“Homebuilder MTD Opinion”) (granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' state law and Sherman Act § 1 claims in the Second Amended Complaint)).[4]

         On July 2, 2018, Defendants moved for summary judgment with respect to claims based on wallboard purchases that were (1) made by separately-organized legal entities and not by the named Plaintiffs themselves and (2) not assigned to the named Plaintiffs prior to the filing of this case. (ECF 318, “Motion” or “Mot.”). The Motion was accompanied by Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts, (ECF 318-2, 324, “SOF”), as well as various exhibits. On July 31, 2018, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation, which the Court approved, voluntarily dismissing all claims against Defendant New NGC, Inc. with prejudice, leaving Defendants USG Corporation, United States Gypsum Company, L&W Supply Corporation, and PABCO Building Products LLC (collectively, “Defendants”) in the action. (ECF 331).

         Plaintiffs responded in opposition to the Motion on August 20, 2018. (ECF 337, “Opposition” or “Opp'n”). The Opposition included a Response to Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts, (ECF 337-2, “Resp. to SOF”), as well as Plaintiffs' own Separate Statement of Material Facts, (ECF 337-3, “Pl.'s SOF”), and various exhibits. Defendants replied in support on September 10, 2018, (ECF 349, “Reply”), and included a Response to Plaintiffs' Separate Statement of Material Facts. (ECF 348, “Resp. to Pl.'s SOF”). The Court then held oral argument on the Motion on March 12, 2019. (ECF 378-81).

         B. Undisputed Facts

         The following is a fair account of the factual assertions relevant to the instant Motion for Summary Judgment, as taken from both parties' Statements of Fact, and not genuinely disputed.

         1. The Legal Entities at Issue

         The Third Amended Complaint (ECF 110, “TAC”)-the operative complaint in this action-names twelve (12) plaintiffs who bring claims against Defendants related to purchases of wallboard (the “Homebuilder Plaintiffs”). (TAC ¶¶ 31-42). Six of those twelve Homebuilder Plaintiffs seek damages related in part to wallboard purchases made by their subsidiaries or related entities.[5] The Homebuilder Plaintiffs and related entities at issue in this Motion are as follows:

         1. Homebuilder Plaintiff Beazer Homes Holdings Corp. seeks damages for wallboard it purchased, as well as for wallboard purchased by the following three subsidiaries: (a) Beazer Homes Corp.; (b) Beazer Homes Indiana LLP; and (c) Beazer Homes Texas, LP. (SOF ¶¶ 1-2). Homebuilder Plaintiff Beazer Homes Holder Corp. and its subsidiaries build and sell new home communities under the “Beazer Homes” brand name. (Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6; Resp. to Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6).

         2. Homebuilder Plaintiff The Drees Company seeks damages for wallboard it purchased, as well as for wallboard purchased by the following four subsidiaries: (a) Ausherman Homes, Inc.; (b) Drees Custom Homes L.P; (c) Drees Homes of Florida, Inc.; and (d) Drees Premier Homes, Inc. (SOF ¶¶ 4-5). Homebuilder Plaintiff The Drees Company and its subsidiaries build and sell new home communities and Homebuilder Plaintiffs contend they do so under the brand name “Drees Homes.” (Pl.'s SOF ¶ 12; Resp. to SOF ¶ 12).

         3. Homebuilder Plaintiff KB Home seeks damages for wallboard it purchased, as well as for wallboard purchased by the following nine subsidiaries: (a) Fremont Pat Ranch LLC; (b) KB Home Arroyo Vista LLC; (c) KB Home Gold Coast LLC; (d) KB Home Las Vegas Inc.; (e) KB Home Nevada Inc.; (f) KB Home Reno Inc.; (g) KB Home/Shaw Louisiana LLC; (h) KB Home South Bay Inc.; and (i) KB Home Treasure Coast LLC. (SOF ¶¶ 7-8).[6] Homebuilder Plaintiff KB Home and some of its subsidiaries build and sell new home communities and Homebuilder Plaintiffs contend they do so under the brand name “KB Home.” (Pl.'s SOF ¶ 21; Resp. to Pl.'s SOF ¶ 21).

         4. Homebuilder Plaintiff TRI Pointe Homes, Inc. seeks damages for wallboard purchased by the following seven subsidiaries[7]: (a) Maracay Construction, L.L.C.; (b) Pardee Homes; (c) Pardee Homes of Nevada; (d) The Quadrant Corporation; (e) Trendmaker Homes, Inc.; (f) TRI ...


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