Nationwide Mutual v. Eagle Windows

In May 2002, Respondent Eagle Windows & Doors, Inc.’s predecessor purchased Eagle & Taylor Company’s assets (Eagle I) from Eagle I's bankruptcy estate. In 2000, homeowners constructed a residence using defective windows manufactured by Eagle I. In 2006, homeowners settled their construction claims against the Appellant contractor. The contractor and its insurer (Appellants) then brought this contribution suit against Respondent as successor to Eagle I. The circuit court granted respondent's motion to dismiss, holding (1) dismissal was required under Rule 12(b)(6) because a bankruptcy order expressly precluded any state law successor liability actions since the sale was "free and clear" under 11 U.S.C. 363(f) of the Bankruptcy Code; and (2) that dismissal was proper under Rule 12(b)(1) of the state rules of civil procedure because the bankruptcy court in Ohio which issued the Eagle I order retained jurisdiction over any claims against respondent for successor liability. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that Appellants' claim did not arise under either the settlement agreement or the order, nor did their claim relate to Eagle I. Rather, it was predicated upon Respondent's post-sale conduct which, Appellants contended, exposed it to successor liability under South Carolina state law. The Supreme Court concluded the court erred in dismissing this suit, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Nationwide Mutual v. Eagle Windows" on Justia Law