COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|3 Months Ended|
Mar. 31, 2017
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
13. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
We were 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, our co-defendants and other alleged 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 were 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 since February 1, 2003 (the “Direct Purchasers”). On December 13, 2013, we and all other defendants settled the Direct Purchasers litigation and the court approved the settlement. We paid the settlement in an amount immaterial to our condensed consolidated financial statements.
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 sued and ordered our case transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Subsequently, Kronos, another defendant, was also severed from the Minnesota case and claims against it were transferred and consolidated for trial with our case in the Southern District of Texas. On February 26, 2016, we reached an agreement to settle the Opt-Out Litigation and subsequently paid the settlement in an amount immaterial to our condensed consolidated financial statements.
We were also 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 did the Direct Purchasers. On October 14, 2014, plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Class Action Complaint narrowing the class of plaintiffs to those merchants and consumers of architectural coatings containing titanium dioxide. On August 11, 2015, the court granted our motion to dismiss the Indirect Purchasers litigation with leave to amend the complaint. A Third Amended Class Action Complaint was filed on September 29, 2015 further limiting the class to consumers of architectural paints. Plaintiffs have raised state antitrust claims under the laws of 15 states, consumer protection claims under the laws of nine states, and unjust enrichment claims under the laws of 16 states. On November 4, 2015, we and our co-defendants filed another motion to dismiss. On June 13, 2016, the court substantially denied the motion to dismiss except as to consumer protection claims in one state. The parties are presently negotiating a settlement for an amount that would not be material to our condensed consolidated financial statements.
On August 23, 2016, we were named as a defendant in a fourth civil antitrust suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by an Indirect Purchaser, Home Depot. Home Depot is an Indirect Purchaser primarily through paints it purchasers from various manufacturers. Home Depot makes the same claims as the Direct and Indirect Purchasers. On January 13, 2017, we filed a motion to dismiss the Home Depot case, which remains pending. We do not expect this matter to have a material impact on our condensed consolidated financial statements.
The plaintiffs in the Indirect Purchasers claims 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.
Product Delivery Claim
We have been notified by a customer of potential claims related to our alleged delivery of a different product than the one the customer had ordered. Our customer claims that it was unaware that the different product had been delivered until after that product had been used to manufacture materials which were subsequently sold. Originally, the customer stated that it had been notified of claims by its customers of up to an aggregate of €153 million (approximately $165 million) relating to this matter and claimed 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 $122 million). Based on the facts currently available, 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 (approximately $122 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 (“the Banks”) demanded that we indemnify them for claims brought against them by certain MatlinPatterson entities that were formerly our stockholders (“MatlinPatterson”) in litigation filed by MatlinPatterson on June 19, 2012 in the 9th District Court in Montgomery County, Texas (the “Texas Litigation”). We denied the Banks’ indemnification demand for the Texas Litigation. These claims allegedly arose from the failed acquisition by and merger with Hexion. The Texas Litigation was dismissed, which was upheld by the Ninth Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court denied review by final order entered January 7, 2016.
On July 14, 2014, the Banks demanded that we indemnify them for additional claims brought against them by certain other former Company stockholders in litigation filed June 14, 2014 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (the “Wisconsin Litigation”). We denied the Banks’ indemnification demand for the Wisconsin Litigation and have made no accrual with respect to this matter. The stockholders in the Wisconsin Litigation have made essentially the same factual allegations as MatlinPatterson made in the Texas Litigation and, additionally, have named Apollo Global Management LLC and Apollo Management Holdings, L.P. as defendants. Stockholder plaintiffs in the Wisconsin Litigation assert claims for misrepresentation and conspiracy to defraud. On June 30, 2016, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the Apollo defendants and on December 5, 2016, the court dismissed Deutsche Bank for lack of personal jurisdiction, but denied Credit Suisse's motion to dismiss. Subsequently, Credit Suisse asked the court to reconsider its decision or certify its judgment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for an immediate appeal, which remains pending.
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