Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Litigation and Related Matters

v3.19.2
Litigation and Related Matters
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2019
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 our 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; however, we cannot predict with certainty the future identification of or expenditure for any investigation, closure or remediation of any environmental site.
Summary of Financial Position
There were no material liabilities recorded as of June 30, 2019 and December 31, 2018 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) (“Petitioners”) 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. Our consistent view through the course of this matter has been, and remains, that our imports were neither dumped nor subsidized.

Until October 2014, AWI 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. Prior to the sale of our North American wood flooring business on December 31, 2018 (“Wood Sale”), we produced multilayered wood flooring domestically and imported multilayered wood flooring from third party suppliers in China. In connection with the Wood Sale, we retained the right to elect to defend and control the defense of the above matters, as well as the right to any related refunds or payments, and agreed to indemnify and hold the buyer from and against any and all duties, penalties, fines or other charges. Armstrong Kunshan was not sold as part of the Wood Sale but was sold to a separate buyer in December 2018.
We previously accrued for potential liability for imports of Armstrong Kunshan products made in the (i) second administrative review period (which covered 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) and (ii) third administrative review period (which covered all multilayered wood flooring imports made between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014 (AD) and between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 (CVD)).
During the second quarter of 2019, we resolved for our potential AD liability for the second and third administrative review periods outside of litigation pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Petitioners. As a result, the Petitioners did not appeal the Court of International Trade’s July 3, 2018 ruling ordering DOC to revoke the AD order with respect to Armstrong Kunshan. Accordingly, the revocation of the AD order with respect to Armstrong Kunshan has become final and DOC has instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to liquidate, without imposition of AD duties, entries of subject merchandise produced and exported by Armstrong Kunshan. CBP began liquidating the Armstrong Kunshan entries without imposition of AD duties in May 2019, and we believe this process has been substantially completed.
There have been and there are expected to be subsequent administrative reviews for which we were not and are not expected to be subject; however, we are liable for other manufacturers’ applicable rates to the extent we were importer of record of products covered by the AD/CVD orders during such periods. While we accrue for potential AD/CVD liability for these periods, such amounts are and are expected to remain immaterial.
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, results of operations, or cash flows.