COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|3 Months Ended|
Mar. 31, 2014
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
13. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
We have been named as a "premises defendant" in a number of asbestos exposure cases, typically claims by nonemployees of exposure to asbestos while at a facility. These complaints generally do not provide specific information about the amount of damages being sought, the time period in which the alleged injuries occurred or the alleged exposures giving rise to the asserted liability. This information, which would be central to any estimate of probable loss, generally must be obtained through legal discovery.
Where a claimant's alleged exposure occurred prior to our ownership of the relevant "premises," the prior owners generally have contractually agreed to retain liability for, and to indemnify us against, asbestos exposure claims. This indemnification is not subject to any time or dollar amount limitations. Upon service of a complaint in one of these cases, we tender it to the prior owner. The prior owner accepts responsibility for the conduct of the defense of the cases and payment of any amounts due to the claimants. In our twenty-year experience with tendering these cases, we have not made any payment with respect to any tendered asbestos cases. We believe that the prior owners have the intention and ability to continue to honor their indemnity obligations, although we cannot assure you that they will continue to do so or that we will not be liable for these cases if they do not.
The following table presents for the periods indicated certain information about cases for which service has been received that we have tendered to the indemnifying party, all of which have been accepted by the indemnifying party.
We have never made any payments with respect to these cases. As of March 31, 2014, we had an accrued liability of approximately $10 million relating to these cases and a corresponding receivable of approximately $10 million relating to our indemnity protection with respect to these cases. We cannot assure you that our liability will not exceed our accruals or that our liability associated with these cases would not be material to our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity; accordingly, we are not able to estimate the amount or range of loss in excess of our accruals. Additional asbestos exposure claims may be made against us in the future, and such claims could be material. However, because we are not able to estimate the amount or range of losses associated with such claims, we have made no accruals with respect to unasserted asbestos exposure claims as of March 31, 2014.
Certain cases in which we are a premises defendant are not subject to indemnification by prior owners or operators. However, we may be entitled to insurance or other recoveries in some of these cases. The following table presents for the periods indicated certain information about these cases. Cases include all cases for which service has been received by us. Certain prior cases that were filed in error against us have been dismissed.
We paid gross settlement costs for asbestos exposure cases that are not subject to indemnification of nil during each of the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013. As of March 31, 2014, we had an accrual of $425,000 relating to these cases. We cannot assure you that our liability will not exceed our accruals or that our liability associated with these cases would not be material to our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity; accordingly, we are not able to estimate the amount or range of loss in excess of our accruals. Additional asbestos exposure claims may be made against us in the future, and such claims could be material. However, because we are not able to estimate the amount or range of losses associated with such claims, we have made no accruals with respect to unasserted asbestos exposure claims as of March 31, 2014.
We have been named as a defendant in consolidated class action civil antitrust suits filed on February 9 and 12, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland alleging that we and our co-defendants and other asserted co-conspirators conspired to fix prices of titanium dioxide sold in the U.S. between at least March 1, 2002 and the present. The other defendants named in this matter are DuPont, Kronos and Cristal (formerly Millennium). On August 28, 2012, the court certified a class consisting of all U.S. customers who purchased titanium dioxide directly from the defendants (the "Direct Purchasers") since February 1, 2003. We and all other defendants settled the Direct Purchasers litigation and the court approved the settlement on December 13, 2013. We have paid the settlement in an amount immaterial to our condensed consolidated financial statements (unaudited).
On November 22, 2013, we were named as a defendant in a civil antitrust suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota brought by a Direct Purchaser who opted out of the Direct Purchasers class litigation (the "Opt Out Litigation"). On April 21, 2014, the court severed the claims against us from the other defendants and ordered our case transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. It is possible that additional claims will be filed by other Direct Purchasers who opted out of the class litigation.
We have also been named as a defendant in a class action civil antitrust suit filed on March 15, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by the purchasers of products made from titanium dioxide (the "Indirect Purchasers") making essentially the same allegations as the Direct Purchasers. The Opt-Out Litigation and Indirect Purchasers plaintiffs seek to recover injunctive relief, treble damages or the maximum damages allowed by state law, costs of suit and attorneys' fees. We are not aware of any illegal conduct by us or any of our employees. Nevertheless, we have incurred costs relating to these claims and could incur additional costs in amounts which in the aggregate could be material to us. Because of the overall complexity of these cases, we are unable to reasonably estimate any possible loss or range of loss associated with these claims and we have made no accruals with respect to these claims.
Product Delivery Claim
We have been notified by a customer of potential claims related to our allegedly delivering a different product than it had ordered. Our customer claims that it was unaware that the different product had been delivered until after it had been used to manufacture materials which were subsequently sold. Originally, the customer stated that it had been notified of claims of up to an aggregate of €153 million (approximately $211 million) relating to this matter and believed that we may be responsible for all or a portion of these potential claims. Our customer has since resolved some of these claims and the aggregate amount of the current claims is now approximately €113 million (approximately $156 million). Based on the facts currently available to us, we believe that we are insured for any liability we may ultimately have in excess of $10 million. However, no assurance can be given regarding our ultimate liability or costs. We believe our range of possible loss in this matter is between €0 and €113 million, and we have made no accrual with respect to this matter.
On July 3, 2012, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, or the banks, demanded that we indemnify them for claims brought by certain MatlinPatterson entities that were formerly our shareholders, the plaintiffs, in litigation filed June 19, 2012 in the 9th District Court in Montgomery County, Texas. The banks assert that they are entitled to indemnification pursuant to the Agreement of Compromise and Settlement between the banks and our Company, dated June 22, 2009, wherein the banks and our Company settled claims that we brought relating to the failed merger with Hexion. The plaintiffs claim that the banks knowingly made materially false representations about the nature of the financing for the acquisition of our Company by Hexion and that they suffered substantial losses to their 19 million shares of our common stock as a result of the banks' misrepresentations. The plaintiffs are asserting statutory fraud, common law fraud and aiding and abetting statutory fraud and are seeking actual damages, exemplary damages, costs and attorney's fees, pre-judgment and post- judgment interest. We denied the banks' indemnification demand. On December 21, 2012, the court dismissed the plaintiffs' claims. The plaintiffs have appealed to the Ninth Court of Appeals at Beaumont, Texas.
We are a party to various other proceedings instituted by private plaintiffs, governmental authorities and others arising under provisions of applicable laws, including various environmental, products liability and other laws. Except as otherwise disclosed in this report, we do not believe that the outcome of any of these matters will have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef