Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Litigation and Related Matters

v3.4.0.3
Litigation and Related Matters
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2016
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Litigation and Related Matters
LITIGATION AND RELATED MATTERS 
Environmental Matters 
Environmental Compliance
Our manufacturing and research facilities are affected by various federal, state and local requirements relating to the discharge of materials and the protection of the environment. We make expenditures necessary for compliance with applicable environmental requirements at each of our operating facilities. These regulatory requirements continually change, therefore we cannot predict with certainty future expenditures associated with compliance with environmental requirements.
Environmental Sites
In connection with current or legacy manufacturing operations, or those of former owners, we may from time to time become involved in the investigation, closure and/or remediation of existing or potential environmental contamination under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and state or international Superfund and similar type environmental laws. For those matters, we may have rights of contribution or reimbursement from other parties or coverage under applicable insurance policies.
Estimates of future liability at environmental sites are based on evaluations of currently available facts. We consider factors such as our activities associated with the site, existing technology, presently enacted laws and regulations and prior company experience in remediating contaminated sites. Although current law imposes joint and several liability on all parties at Superfund sites, our contribution to the remediation of any sites may be limited by the number of other companies potentially liable for site remediation. As a result, estimated liability would reflect only our expected share. In determining the probability of contribution, we would consider the solvency of other parties, the site activities of other parties, whether liability is being disputed, the terms of any existing agreements and experience with similar matters, and the effect of AWI’s Chapter 11 reorganization upon the validity of any claim. Actual costs to be incurred at environmental sites may vary significantly from estimates.
Summary of Financial Position
There were no material liabilities recorded at March 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015 for potential environmental liabilities that we consider probable and for which a reasonable estimate of the probable liability could be made.
Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Cases
In October 2010, a coalition of U.S. producers of multilayered wood flooring (not including AWI and its subsidiaries) filed petitions seeking antidumping duties (“AD”) and countervailing duties (“CVD”) with the United States Department of Commerce (“DOC”) and the United States International Trade Commission against imports of multilayered wood flooring from China. The AD and CVD petitions ultimately resulted in DOC issuing AD and CVD orders (the “Orders”) against multilayered wood flooring imported into the U.S. from China. These Orders and the associated additional duties they have imposed have been the subject of extensive litigation, both at DOC and in the U.S. courts.
We produce multilayered wood flooring domestically and import multilayered wood flooring from third party suppliers in China. Until October 2014, we also operated a plant in Kunshan, China (“Armstrong Kunshan”) that manufactured multilayered wood flooring for export to the U.S. As a result, we have been directly involved in the multilayered wood flooring-related litigation at DOC and in the U.S. courts. Our consistent view through the course of this matter has been, and remains, that our imports are neither dumped nor subsidized. In 2013, in the sole DOC investigation of AWI and its subsidiaries (as a mandatory respondent in connection with the first annual administrative review), Armstrong Kunshan received a final AD rate of 0.00% and a final CVD rate of 0.98%.
Litigation regarding this matter has continued in the U.S. courts. The most recent court decision, on July 6, 2015, upheld certain DOC calculations on remand. Armstrong Kunshan as well as other respondents have appealed the DOC’s original decision to apply an AD rate to AWI and its subsidiaries and other “separate rate” respondents in the original investigation (for which we received a final initial AD rate of 3.31%) to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
DOC also continues to conduct annual administrative reviews of the AD and CVD final duty rates under the Orders. In July 2015, DOC issued its final AD and CVD rates for the second administrative review, which applies to imports of multilayered wood flooring made between December 1, 2012 and November 30, 2013 (AD) and between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 (CVD). Armstrong Kunshan was not selected as a mandatory respondent for the second AD review and, therefore, was not subject to individual review, but AWI and its subsidiaries are subject to the rates applicable to importers that were not individually reviewed (the “separate rate” or “all other” respondents).
On July 7, 2015, the DOC issued a final “all others” CVD rate of 0.99% that also applies to Armstrong Kunshan as part of the second CVD administrative review. On July 9, 2015, DOC issued a final AD determination for the second administrative review. DOC imposed a 13.74% AD rate determined solely on the basis of the AD duty rate assigned to the only mandatory respondent that did not receive a de minimis rate. DOC assigned this rate to all separate rate respondents that were not individually investigated, including Armstrong Kunshan. AWI and its subsidiaries, Armstrong Kunshan, and other respondents have filed complaints against DOC challenging the rate in the U.S. Court of International Trade with a decision expected in 2016. If such rates are ultimately upheld after any court appeals are exhausted, the estimated additional liability to us for the relevant period is approximately $4.5 million, which is recorded in Accounts payable and accrued expenses. We continue to accrue and make cash deposits for duties when we are the importer of record at the rates established by the DOC based on the second administrative review process.
DOC is currently conducting its third annual administrative review. Armstrong Kunshan was not selected as a mandatory respondent for the third AD review and therefore, is not subject to individual mandatory review. As part of these reviews, Armstrong Kunshan’s individual AD and CVD assessment rates may be changed and the revised rates applicable to participants that were not individually reviewed will apply to all multilayered wood flooring imports between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014 (AD) and between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 (CVD). The DOC issued a preliminary AD rate of 13.34% and a preliminary CVD rate of 1.43% for the third administrative review. We do not anticipate final AD and CVD rates for the third administrative reviews until mid-2016. We are unable to predict the final AD and CVD rates for the pending reviews at this time, but plan to continue to defend our import practices and pursue our available legal rights and remedies, including litigation at DOC and in the U.S. courts. Armstrong Kunshan was not selected to be a respondent in the DOC fourth AD and CVD administrative reviews.
Other Claims
We are involved in various lawsuits, claims, investigations and other legal matters from time to time that arise in the ordinary course of conducting business, including matters involving our products, intellectual property, relationships with suppliers, relationships with distributors, relationships with competitors, employees and other matters. For example, we are currently a party to various litigation matters that involve product liability, tort liability and other claims under a wide range of allegations, including illness due to exposure to certain chemicals used in the workplace, or medical conditions arising from exposure to product ingredients or the presence of trace contaminants. In some cases, these allegations involve multiple defendants and relate to legacy products that we and other defendants purportedly manufactured or sold. We believe these claims and allegations to be without merit and intend to defend them vigorously. For these matters, we also may have rights of contribution or reimbursement from other parties or coverage under applicable insurance policies.
While complete assurance cannot be given to the outcome of these proceedings, we do not believe that any of these matters, individually or in the aggregate, will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations.