Dreamstyle awarded $7M in federal lawsuit - Albuquerque Journal

Dreamstyle awarded $7M in federal lawsuit

The Pete V. Domenici federal courthouse Downtown Albuquerque (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

An arbitration panel awarded Albuquerque-based Dreamstyle Remodeling more than $7 million to resolve a federal lawsuit alleging that an out-of-state manufacturer illegally terminated its contract with the firm in 2019.

Dreamstyle filed the lawsuit after Minneapolis-based Renewal by Andersen “abruptly terminated its contractual relationship with Dreamstyle” in New Mexico and other states, according to federal court records.

The 2019 lawsuit alleged Renewal engaged in “an elaborate scheme of anti-competitive conduct” by forcing Dreamstyle and other retailers to exclusively sell windows and doors manufactured by Renewal, and restricting Dreamstyle’s ability to sell products made by other manufacturers.

Attorneys representing Renewal by Andersen did not respond Monday to phone and email messages seeking comment.

Dreamstyle and Renewal agreed to use an arbitration panel to resolve the lawsuit.

The panel on Feb. 21 awarded Dreamstyle about $7 million following a hearing in November, according to records filed in the U.S. District Court of New Mexico.

Dreamstyle’s attorney, Guy Bluff of Albuquerque, said Renewal’s decision to terminate the contract initially had a devastating effect on Dreamstyle.

“It wasn’t easy,” Bluff said in a phone interview on Monday. Dreamstyle CEO Larry Chavez had to “pull out all the stops to try and save his business and save the livelihood of his employees.”

Chavez said Dreamstyle has expanded since losing the Renewal contract by selling products made by other manufacturers. Since 2019, annual revenues have increased from $105 million to $160 million and the firm’s staff has grown from 500 to 600, he said.

The Albuquerque-based home remodeling company employs workers in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and California. The contract cancellation affected all of Dreamstyle’s retail areas, Bluff said.

In 2019, “one of the mainstays of the business really was installing Renewal products,” he said.

The lawsuit alleged that by 2019, Dreamstyle had become one of Renewal’s largest retailers, and had increased orders with Renewal by an average of 35% a year for the prior seven years.

Dreamstyle also spent about $34 million marketing the Renewal brand from 2014 to 2019, according to the lawsuit.

Chavez drew criticism from a Renewal executive after he committed $10 million in 2017 to acquire the naming rights to the University of New Mexico’s basketball arena and football stadium, the suit alleged.

The executive “chastised Chavez for building his own ‘Dreamstyle’ brand and investing in the local community instead of spending the same $10 million dollars promoting the ‘Renewal’ brand,” it said.

What was supposed to be a 10-year naming-rights agreement fell apart in 2020 after Dreamstyle and UNM disagreed on the terms of the deal.

Dreamstyle leaders learned that its contract with Renewal was being canceled during a 12-minute meeting in May 2019 with Renewal executives, according to the lawsuit.

Dreamstyle filed two federal lawsuits in 2019 in California and New Mexico. Both suits were resolved by the arbitration panel.

The panel awarded Dreamstyle a total of $7,192,227 in damages and interest, Bluff said

The arbitration panel based its finding on Dreamstyle’s breach of contract and wrongful termination claims, he said.

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