The Company establishes accruals for specific legal proceedings when it is considered probable that a loss has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. Accruals for loss contingencies are reviewed quarterly and adjusted as additional information becomes available. If a loss is not both probable and reasonably estimable, or if an exposure to loss exists in excess of the amount accrued therefor, the Company assesses whether there is at least a reasonable possibility that a loss, or additional loss, may have been incurred. If there is a reasonable possibility that a loss, or additional loss, may have been incurred, the Company discloses the estimate of the possible loss or range of loss if it is material and an estimate can be made, or states that such an estimate cannot be made. The determination as to whether a loss can reasonably be considered to be possible or probable is based on the Company’s assessment, in conjunction with legal counsel, regarding the ultimate outcome of the matter.
The Company believes that it has adequately accrued for the potential impact of loss contingencies that are probable and reasonably estimable. The Company does not believe that the ultimate resolution of any matters to which the Company is presently a party will have a material adverse effect on its results of operations, financial condition or cash flows. However, the results of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, and an unfavorable resolution of one or more of these matters could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Legal costs incurred related to these matters are expensed as incurred.
The Company carries liability and excess umbrella insurance policies that it deems sufficient to cover potential legal claims arising in the normal course of conducting its operations as a transportation and logistics company. The liability and excess umbrella insurance policies generally do not cover the misclassification claims described in this note. In the event the Company is required to satisfy a legal claim outside the scope of the coverage provided by insurance, the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows could be negatively impacted.
Intermodal Drayage Classification Claims
Certain of the Company’s intermodal drayage subsidiaries received notices from the California Labor Commissioner, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (the “DLSE”), that a total of approximately 150 owner-operators contracted with these subsidiaries filed claims in 2012 with the DLSE in which they assert that they should be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors. These claims seek reimbursement for the owner-operators’ business expenses, including fuel, tractor maintenance and tractor lease payments. After a decision was rendered by a DLSE hearing officer in seven of these claims, in 2014, the Company appealed the decision to the California Superior Court, San Diego, where a de novo trial was held on the merits of those claims. On July 17, 2015, the court issued a final statement of decision finding that the seven claimants were employees rather than independent contractors and awarding an aggregate of $2.9 million plus post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees to the claimants. The Company exhausted its appeals in this matter and the Superior Court entered final judgment against the Company in January 2018 and that judgment has been paid. Separate decisions were rendered in June 2015 by a DLSE hearing officer in claims involving five additional plaintiffs, resulting in an award for the plaintiffs in an aggregate amount of approximately $0.9 million, following which the Company appealed the decisions in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (“Central Court”). On May 16, 2017, the Central Court issued judgment finding that the five claimants were employees rather than independent contractors and awarding an aggregate of approximately $1.0 million plus post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees to the claimants. The Company has appealed this judgment but cannot provide assurance that such appeal will be successful. In addition, separate decisions were rendered in April 2017 by a DLSE hearing officer in claims involving four additional plaintiffs, resulting in an award for the plaintiffs in an aggregate amount of approximately $0.9 million, which the Company has appealed to the California Superior Court, Long Beach. The remaining DLSE claims (the “Pending DLSE Claims”) have been transferred to California Superior Court in three separate actions involving approximately 170 claimants, including the claimants mentioned above who originally filed claims in 2012. In addition, certain of the Company’s intermodal drayage subsidiaries are party to putative class action litigations and other administrative claims in California brought by independent contract carriers who contracted with these subsidiaries. In these litigations, the contract carriers assert that they should be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors. The Company believes that it has adequately accrued for the potential impact of loss contingencies that are probable and reasonably estimable relating to the claims referenced above. The Company is unable at this time to estimate the amount of the possible loss or range of loss, if any, in excess of its accrued liability that it may incur as a result of these claims given, among other reasons, that the range of potential loss could be impacted substantially by future rulings by the courts involved, including on the merits of the claims.