Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

v3.21.1
Commitments and Contingencies
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2021
Commitments and Contingencies [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

16.

Commitments and Contingencies  

 

Legal Proceedings


The Company is subject to certain claims and lawsuits arising in the normal course of business. The Company assesses liabilities and contingencies in connection with outstanding legal proceedings utilizing the latest information available. Where it is probable that the Company will incur a loss and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated, the Company records 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, the Company does not record an accrual, consistent with applicable accounting guidance. Based on information currently available, advice of counsel, and available insurance coverage, the Company believes that the established accruals are adequate and the liabilities arising from the legal proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on the consolidated financial condition. 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 the results of operations for a particular period, depending upon the size of the loss or the 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, it is alleged, that the Company agreed to provide 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, are being 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 have engaged in written discovery but no depositions have been conducted as of yet. By motion dated February 24, 2021, Pizzarotti moved to stay the entire action pending the outcome of a separate litigation captioned Pizzarotti, LLC v. FPG Maiden Lane, LLC et. al., Index No. 651697/2019, involving some of the same parties (but excluding the Company). Phipps cross moved to consolidate the two actions.


The Company opposed both motions. On April 26, 2021, the Court denied both motions and directed the parties to meet and confer concerning the scheduling of depositions. On May 10, 2021, the parties jointly filed with the Court a proposed order providing the completion of depositions of all parties and non-parties by September 30, 2021.  

  

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 Litigation – 

 

1.       Teton Buildings, LLC

 

(i) On January 1, 2019, SG Blocks commenced an action against Teton Buildings, LLC (“Teton”) in Harris County, Texas (“Teton Action”) to recover approximately $2,100,000 arising from defendant’s breach of the operative contract related to Heart of Los Angeles construction project in Los Angeles (the “HOLA Project”). The Petition brought claims of breach of contract, negligence, and breach of express warranty. The Firm did not represent the Company in connection with the Teton Action.

 

(ii) On or about September 12, 2018, On or about June 2, 2017, the Company entered into a Firm Price Quote and Purchase (the “GVL Contract”) with Teton to govern the manufacture and provision of 23 shipping containers and modular units (the “Teton GVL Modules”) for the Four Oaks Gather GVL project in South Carolina (the “GVL Project.”). The Company maintains that Teton breached the GVL Contract by (i) failing to timely deliver the Teton GVL Modules, (ii) delivering Teton GVL Modules that were defective in their design and manufacture, (iii) otherwise failed to meet South Carolina Building Code regulations and (iv) breached applicable warranties. As a result of the breach and defects in performance, design and manufacture by Teton, Company asserts that it has sustained approximately $761,401.66 in actual and consequential damages, excluding attorney’s fees.

 

On October 16, 2019, Teton filed for Chapter 11 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. The Firm was engaged to file a proof of claim in the Teton Bankruptcy. On February 11, 2020, the Company filed a proof of claim again Teton in the amount of $2,861,401.66 arising from the HOLA Project and the GVL Contract.  

 

On or about March 16, 2020, the Bankruptcy Court converted Teton’s Chapter 11 reorganization case to a Chapter 7 liquidation case. On July 18, 2019, Ronald Sommers, the Chapter 7 Trustee, filed a Report of No Distribution stating that there is no property available for distribution to creditors. On August 20, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court closed the Teton bankruptcy case. As such, there is no prospect of any recovery against Teton.

 

On January 22, 2021, the Company filed a third-party complaint against Teton in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. 2:20−cv−03432 (“Teton Action”), seeking to determine Teton’s liability in its capacity as a bankruptcy debtor in order to collect any damages payable from Teton’s liability insurance carrier or carriers.

 

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.

 

2.       SG Blocks, Inc. v HOLA Community Partners, et. al. 

 

On April 13, 2020, Plaintiff SG Blocks, Inc. (“SG Blocks”) filed a Complaint against HOLA Community Partners (“HCP”), Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Inc. (“HOLA”) (HCP and HOLA are collectively referred to as the “HOLA Defendants”), and the City of Los Angeles (“City”) in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. 2:20-cv-03432-ODW (“HOLA Action”). The Company asserted seven claims against HOLA Defendants arising out of and related to the HOLA Project, to wit,  for: (1) breach of contract; (2) conversion; (3) default and judicial foreclosure under the Agreement as a security agreement; (4) misappropriation of trade secrets under California Civil Code section 3426; (5) misappropriation of trade secrets under 18 U.S.C. § 1836; and (6) intentional interference with contractual relations.

 

 

On April 20, 2020, HOLA filed a separate action against the Company in the Los Angeles Superior Court arising out of the HOLA Project, asserting claims of (1) negligence; (2) strict products liability; (3) strict products liability, (4) breach of contract; (5) breach of express warranty; (6) violation of Business and Professions Code § 7031(b); and (7) violation of California’s unfair competition law, Business and Professions Code section 17200 (“UCL”) (“HOLA State Court Action”). The HOLA State Court Action was removed to the Central District of California and consolidated with the HOLA Action.

 

On January 22, 2021, the Company filed a Third-Party Complaint in the HOLA Action against Third-Party Defendants Teton Buildings, LLC, Avesi Construction, LLC, and American Home Building and Masonry Corp (“AHB”) for indemnity and contribution with respect to HOLA’s claims. The Company has also notified its general liability carrier Sompo International regarding coverage concerning HOLA’s claims

 

On February 25, 2021, the Court entered an order dismissing the Company’s claims for  (1) breach of contract; (2) conversion; (3) default and judicial foreclosure under the Agreement as a security agreement; (4) misappropriation of trade secrets under California Civil Code section 3426; (5) misappropriation of trade secrets under 18 U.S.C. § 1836; but denied dismissal of the Company’s claims for intentional interference with contractual relations. The Court also denied the Company’s motion to dismiss HOLA’s claims. The case is currently entering the discovery stage and a trial date has been set for March 22, 2022.

 

On March 12, 2021, the HOLA Defendants filed an answer to the Company’s complaint against it denying liability and asserting affirmative defenses.

 

On March 12, 2021, the Company filed an answer to the HOLA Defendants’ First Amended Consolidated Complaint against it, denying liability and asserting affirmative defenses.

 

On April 26, 2021, the Company and the HOLA Defendants filed a Joint Stipulation to Dismiss Hola Community Partners’ Sixth Claim for Relief (violation of California Business and Professions Code §7031(b)), with prejudice, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(A)(1)(A)(Ii).


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 outcome or possible recovery or 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.


3.       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 HOLA Project. SG Blocks, Inc. claims that EDI International, PC, tortiously  interfered with SG Blocks, Inc's economic relationship with HOLA Community Partners and  Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Inc. 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. On July 8, 2020, SG Blocks, Inc. added PVE LLC as a defendant in the lawsuit, claiming PVE LLC is liable to the same extent as EDI International, PC. The case is currently in the discovery stage and a trial date has been set for May 2, 2022.

 

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 outcome or possible recovery or 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

 

1.       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) $300,000 due in severance (hereafter the “Action”). On March 25, 2020, the Former Employee filed an amended complaint raising additional claims of retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §201 et. seq. (“FLSA”), and contractual indemnification.

 

On April 27, 2020, the Company filed a motion to  dismiss the Action.  The Company asserted 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 maintained that the Former Employee’s employment agreement precludes any entitlement to or liability for severance.

 

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 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.

 

The parties are in the middle of pre-trial discovery. Fact discovery is  scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2021.  No trial date has been set.

 

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 outcome or possible recovery or 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.