Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

v3.20.2
Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2020
Commitments and Contingencies [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

15.

Commitments and Contingencies  

 

Legal Proceedings


We are subject to certain claims and lawsuits arising in the normal course of business. We assess our liabilities and contingencies in connection with outstanding legal proceedings utilizing the latest information available. Where it is probable that we will incur a loss and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated, we record a liability in our consolidated financial statements. These legal accruals may be increased or decreased to reflect any relevant developments on a quarterly basis. Where a loss is not probable or the amount of the loss is not estimable, we do not record an accrual, consistent with applicable accounting guidance. Based on information currently available to us, advice of counsel, and available insurance coverage, we believe that our established accruals are adequate and the liabilities arising from the legal proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition. We note, however, that in light of the inherent uncertainty in legal proceedings there can be no assurance that the ultimate resolution of a matter will not exceed established accruals. As a result, the outcome of a particular matter or a combination of matters may be material to our results of operations for a particular period, depending upon the size of the loss or our income for that particular period.


Pizzarotti Litigation - On or about August 10, 2018 Pizzarotti, LLC filed a complaint against the Company and Mahesh Shetty, the Company’s former President and CFO, and others, seeking unspecified damages for an alleged breach of contract by the Company and another entity named Phipps & Co. (“Phipps”). The lawsuit was filed as Pizzarotti, LLC. v. Phipps & Co., et al., Index No. 653996/2018 and commenced in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for the County of New York. On or about April 1, 2019, Phipps filed cross-claims against the Company and Mr. Shetty asserting claims for indemnification, contribution, fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. SG Blocks has likewise cross claimed against Phipps for indemnification and contribution, claiming that any damages to the Plaintiff were the result of the acts or omissions of Phipps and its principals.  


Pizzarotti’s suit arose from a contract dated April 3, 2018 that it executed with Phipps whereby Pizzarotti, a construction manager, engaged Phipps to perform stone procuring and tile work at a construction project located at 161 Maiden Lane, New York 10038. Pizzarotti’s claims against the Company arise from a purported assignment agreement dated August 10, 2018, whereby Pizzarotti claims that the Company agreed to assume certain obligations of Phipps under a certain trade contract between Pizzarotti and Phipps & Co.  Phipps’ claims against the Company arise from a purported Assignment Agreement, dated as of May 30, 2018, between Pizzarotti, Phipps and the Company (the “Assignment Agreement”), pursuant to which the Company purportedly provided a letter of credit in connection with  the sub-contracted work to be provided by Phipps to Pizzarotti.


The Company believes that the Assignment Agreement was void for lack of consideration and moved to dismiss the case on those and other grounds. On June 17, 2020, the New York Supreme Court entered an order dismissing certain claims against the Company brought by cross claimant Phipps & Co. Specifically, the court dismissed Phipps’ claims for indemnification, contribution, fraud, negligence and negligent misrepresentation. The court did not dismiss Phipps’ claim for breach of the Assignment Agreement. The issue of the validity of the Assignment Agreement, and the Company’s defenses to the claims brought by the plaintiff Pizzarotti and cross claimant Phipps will have to be litigated. The Company maintains that the Assignment Agreement, to the extent valid and enforceable, was properly terminated and/or there are no damages, and, consequently, that the claims brought against the Company are without merit. The Company intends to vigorously defend the litigation.

 

The parties to the litigation have completed the exchange of written discovery and are in the process of scheduling depositions which are expected to be conducted within the next ninety (90) days.


Litigation is subject to many uncertainties, and the outcome of this action is not predicted with assurance. The Company is currently unable to predict the possible loss or range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of this litigation, and, accordingly, the Company has made no provision related to this matter in the condensed consolidated financial statements.


Vendor LitigationOn January 1, 2019, SG Blocks filed a suit against Teton Buildings, LLC (“Teton”) to recover breach of contract damages of approximately $2,100,000 plus attorneys’ fees related to the HOLA Community Partners construction project in Los Angeles, California (the “HOLA Project”), for which Teton was engaged by the Company to supply modular units in early 2017. The Company’s complaint alleged that Teton failed to comply with specific product requirements with respect to the modular units for the HOLA Project and that Teton’s delay and product quality resulted in damages. The Company’s claims include breach of contract, negligence, and breach of express warranty. The lawsuit was filed as SG Blocks, Inc. v. Teton Buildings, LLC; Case Number 2019-02827 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.


Teton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 16, 2019, and filed a Suggestion of Bankruptcy in the Harris County Court on October 29, 2019. The bankruptcy is currently pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for Southern District of Texas, Houston Division styled In re: Teton Buildings, LLC and bearing the case number 19-35811. Pursuant to the Suggestion of Bankruptcy, the state-court litigation has been stayed. On or about March 16, 2020, the Bankruptcy Court converted Teton’s Chapter 11 reorganization case to a Chapter 7 liquidation case. As such, notwithstanding the Company’s belief that its claims are meritorious and that it would have prevailed in the state court action, the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and subsequent conversion to Chapter 7, make recovery against Teton much less likely. Litigation is subject to many uncertainties, and the outcome of this action is not predicted with assurance. On April 30, 2020, Ronald Sommers, the Chapter 7 Trustee, filed a “Notice of Assets, Notice to Creditors and Other Parties In Interest of the Need to File Claims.”


The Company, through its insurance carrier, Endurance American Specialty Insurance Company, member of Sompo International Companies, is pursuing a claim against Teton’s professional liability insurance policy with Lloyd’s, London (“Lloyds”).  DWF Claims (USA) LLC, Lloyds’ claims administrator, has previously denied coverage under said policy.


The Company is currently unable to predict the possible loss or range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of this litigation, and, accordingly, the Company has made no provision related to this matter in the condensed consolidated financial statements.


HOLA Community Partners/City of Los Angeles Matter. On or about April 13, 2020, the Company commenced an action against HOLA Community Partners (“HOLA”), a California non-profit corporation, Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Inc., and the City of Los Angeles, in the United States District Court Central District Of California, Western Division, arising out of a certain Construction and Delivery Agreement ("HOLA Agreement"), dated June 1, 2017, pursuant to which HOLA hired the Company for design, engineering, fabrication, and installation services in connection with a 33,250 square foot arts and recreation center in Lafayette Park, in Los Angeles, California (the "HOLA Project"). The Company alleges that HOLA Community Partners owes the Company certain amounts due for work performed on the HOLA Project and extra costs incurred due to delays and impacts caused by HOLA Community Partners. Prior to the commencement of suit HOLA Community Partners disputed the amounts owed, and claimed that the Company failed to meet its contractual obligations. The Company has asserted claims against that HOLA for (i) breach of contract; (2) damages for conversion; (3) default under security agreement and judicial foreclosure; (4) misappropriation of trade secrets under Cal.Civ. Code §3426; (5) misappropriation of trade secrets under 18 U.S.C. § 1836; (6) intentional interference with contractual relations; and (7) negligence, seeking in excess of $1 million in damages, plus statutory damages and attorneys’ fees. The Company has also brought a claim of negligence against the City of Los Angeles, to wit, that the City negligently failed to require HOLA to provide the payment bond required by Civil Code Cal.Civ. Code §9550, effectively depriving the Company of the ability to seek recovery from such payment bond.

 

HOLA has been served with the summons and complaint but has yet to file a response thereto. The City of Los Angeles has been served with the summons and complaint but has yet to file a response thereto.


On or about April 20, 2020, HOLA commenced a separate action against the Company and several other co-defendants, including, Teton Buildings, LLC, Avesi Construction, LLC, American Home Building and Masonry Corp., in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles (“HOLA Action”) raising claims of negligence, strict products liability, breach of contract, breach of express warranty and violation of California business and professions code §703l(b) all arising out of and related to the HOLA Agreement and HOLA Project. HOLA claims damages in excess of $4 million plus attorneys’ fees. On May 14, 2020, the Company removed the HOLA Action to the United States District Court for the Central District Of California, Western Division. Upon removal to Federal court the HOLA Action was consolidated with the Company’s earlier filed action before the Hon. Otis D. Wright, II, U.S.D.J. The Company has yet to respond to the HOLA complaint.



Mediation

 

On June 24, 2020, the Company and HOLA, and certain non-parties (including EDI International, P.C.; see below), participated in a mediation of their respective claims and defenses with Mr. Ross Hart/Arbitration Mediation Conciliation Center. No resolution was achieved during the June 24, 2020, mediation, however the parties agreed to continue the mediation with Mr. Hart. On July 22, 2020, the Company and HOLA participated in a second mediation session with Mr. Hart. Although resolution of the parties’ various claims and defenses was not achieved, the parties continue to engage in settlement discussions by and through Mr. Hart.  

 

Insurance


The Company has notified its insurance carriers of the HOLA action and said carriers are in the early stages of their investigation as to coverage and/or subrogation. 


Litigation is subject to many uncertainties, and the outcome of this action is not predicted with assurance. Although the Company believes its claims against HOLA and the City of Los Angeles are meritorious, and that it has valid defenses to the claims of HOLA, it is currently unable to predict the possible range of recovery, if any, associated with the resolution of this litigation, and, accordingly, the Company has made no provision related to this matter in the condensed consolidated financial statements.


SG Blocks, Inc. v. EDI International, PC.- On June 21, 2019, SG Blocks filed a lawsuit against EDI International, PC, a New Jersey corporation, in connection with the parties' consulting agreement, dated June 29, 2016,  pursuant to which EDI International, PC, was to provide, for a fee, certain architectural and  design services for the Project. SG Blocks, Inc. claims that EDI International, PC, tortuously interfered with SG Blocks, Inc's economic relationship with HOLA Community Partners and  Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Inc. The complaint seeks in excess of $1,275,754 in damages. EDI International, PC, filed a cross-complaint for alleged unpaid fees and tortious interference with EDI International, PC's contractual relationship with HOLA Community Partners and Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Inc. EDI International, PC's cross-complaint seeks in excess of $30,428.71 in damages. Litigation is pending. EDI participated in the first mediation session referenced in the HOLA matter above, although no resolution of the respective parties' claims and defenses was achieved thereat. The parties have begun exchanging written discovery and are in the process of scheduling depositions of the principals and non-party witnesses.


Litigation is subject to many uncertainties, and the outcome of this action is not predicted with assurance. The Company is currently unable to predict the possible loss or range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of this litigation, and, accordingly, the Company has made no provision related to this matter in the condensed consolidated financial statements.   


Other Litigation


Shetty  v. SG Blocks, Inc. et. al., Case No. 20-CV-00550, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.  

 

On January 31, 2020, Mahesh Shetty, the Company’s former President and Chief Financial Officer (“Former Employee”), filed suit against the company and its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Galvin, claiming (i) $372,638 in unpaid wages and bonuses and (ii) $0 due in severance (hereafter the “Action”). The Former Employee has also named the Company’s third party payroll processing company Staff-One as a co-defendant. The Company maintains that the Former Employee agreed to accept (and did receive) restricted stock units of the Company’s common stock in full satisfaction and payment of all alleged unpaid wages and bonuses that are claimed in the Action, and/or has otherwise been paid in full for all amounts claimed. The Company further maintains that the Former Employee’s employment agreement precludes any entitlement to or liability for severance. On March 25, 2020, the Former Employee filed an amended complaint raising additional claims of retaliation and indemnification. The Company denies the merits of the claims set forth in the Former Employee’s amended complaint and/or asserts that valid defenses preclude any recovery, and intends to vigorously defend against the Action. On April 27, 2020, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the Action. On June 15, 2020, the Court entered a decision granting in part and denying in part the Company’s motion to dismiss. Specifically, the Court dismissed the Former Employee’s claim (i) for severance (in the amount of $300,000) and unpaid wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §201 et. seq. (“FLSA”), but denied dismissal of the Former Employee’s claims for retaliation under the FLSA or unpaid wages allegedly due under the New York Labor Law. 


 

On July 20, 2020, the Former Employee filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint seeking to re-plead his severance claim and to assert quasi-contract claims for severance. The Company has filed opposition to the motion and the parties are awaiting a ruling from the Court. In addition, the Court has entered a scheduling order for the completion of discovery, of which the parties are in the early stages.  


Litigation is subject to many uncertainties, and the outcome of this action is not predicted with assurance. The Company is currently unable to predict the possible loss or range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of this litigation. 


In addition, the Company is subject to other routine legal proceedings, claims, and litigation in the ordinary course of its business. Defending lawsuits requires significant management attention and financial resources and the outcome of any litigation, including the matters described above, is inherently uncertain. The Company does not, however, currently expect that the costs to resolve these routine matters will have a material adverse effect on its consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.


Commitments


In April 2020, the Company entered into an amendment to its employment agreement, dated January 1, 2017, with Paul Gavin (the "Amendment"), to extend the term of employment to December 31, 2021, provide for an annual base salary of $400,000, provide for a performance bonus structure for a bonus of up to 50% of base salary upon the Company’s achievement of $2,000,000 EBITDA and additional performance bonus payments for the achievement of EBITDA in excess of $2,000,000 based on a percentage of the incremental increase in EBITDA (ranging from 10% of the incremental increase in EBITDA if the Company achieves over $2,000,000 and up to $7,000,000 in EBITDA, 8% of the incremental increase in EBITDA if the Company achieves over $7,000,000 and up to $12,000,000 in EBITDA and 3% of the incremental increase in EBITDA over $12,000,000), provide for a profits-based additional bonus of up to $250,000 in certain limited circumstances, and provide for one (1) year severance, plus a pro-rated amount of any unpaid bonus earned by him during the year as verified by the Company’s principal financial officer, if Mr. Galvin is terminated without cause. At the Company’s option, up to fifty (50%) percent of the EBITDA performance bonuses may be paid in restricted stock units if then available for grant under the Company’s Stock Incentive Plan. All other terms of the employment agreement remain in full force and effect.