INVESTIGATIONS, CLAIMS AND LITIGATION
The company is one of several defendants in litigation brought by the Orange County Water District in Orange County Superior Court in California on December 17, 2004, for alleged contribution to volatile organic chemical contamination of the County's shallow groundwater. The lawsuit includes counts against the defendants for violation of the Orange County Water District Act, the California Super Fund Act, negligence, nuisance, trespass and declaratory relief. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the cost of remediation, payment of attorney fees and costs, and punitive damages. Trial on the statutory claims (those based on the Orange County Water District Act, the California Super Fund Act and declaratory relief) concluded on September 25, 2012. On December 11, 2012, the court issued a tentative decision on these claims in favor of the company and the other remaining defendants. On May 10, 2013, the court issued a supplemental tentative decision, which included additional findings supporting its earlier tentative decision in favor of the company and the other remaining defendants on the statutory causes of action tried in 2012. On October 29, 2013, the court incorporated its two tentative decisions into a final decision, which it issued in favor of the defendants on the statutory claims. The court has scheduled an April 22, 2014, hearing on defendants' dispositive motions on the remaining tort causes of action.
On May 4, 2012, the company commenced an action, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. v. United States, in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. This lawsuit relates to an approximately $875 million firm fixed price contract awarded to the company in 2007 by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for the construction and delivery of flats sequencing systems (FSS) as part of the postal automation program. The FSS have been delivered. The company's lawsuit is based on various theories of liability. The complaint seeks approximately $63 million for unpaid portions of the contract price, and approximately $115 million based on the company's assertions that, through various acts and omissions over the life of the contract, the USPS adversely affected the cost and schedule of performance and materially altered the company's obligations under the contract. The United States responded to the company's complaint with an answer, denying most of the company's claims, and counterclaims, seeking approximately $410 million, less certain amounts outstanding under the contract. The principal counterclaim alleges that the company delayed its performance and caused damages to the USPS because USPS did not realize certain costs savings as early as it had expected. On April 2, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice informed the company of a False Claims Act complaint relating to the FSS contract that was filed under seal by a relator in June 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On June 3, 2013, the United States filed a Notice informing the Court that the United States had decided not to intervene in this case. On August 26, 2013, the relator filed a corrected First Amended Complaint. The relator alleged that the company violated the False Claims Act in a number of ways with respect to the FSS contract, alleged damage to the USPS in an amount of at least approximately $179 million annually, and sought an unspecified partial refund of the contract purchase price, penalties, attorney's fees and other costs of suit. Damages under the False Claims Act may be trebled upon a finding of liability. The relator also alleged he was improperly discharged in retaliation. On November 22, 2013, the company filed a motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint. By Order dated December 11, 2013, based on the relator's stipulation, the court dismissed the relator's retaliation claim. By Order dated December 13, 2013, the court dismissed the remaining allegations without prejudice and granted the relator leave to file an Amended Complaint. On January 3, 2014, the relator filed a Second Amended Complaint that, with the exception of the retaliation claim which is now the subject of an arbitration demand, includes the same allegations as the First Amended Complaint. Although the ultimate outcome of this matter, including any possible loss, cannot be predicted or estimated at this time, the company intends vigorously to pursue and defend this matter.
On August 8, 2013, the company received a court-appointed expert's report in litigation pending in the Second Federal Court of the Federal District in Brazil brought by the Brazilian Post and Telegraph Corporation (ECT) a Brazilian state-owned entity, against Solystic SAS (Solystic), a French subsidiary of the company, and two of its consortium partners. In this suit, commenced on December 17, 2004, and relatively inactive for some period of time, ECT alleges the consortium breached its contract with ECT and seeks damages of approximately R$111 million (the equivalent of approximately $47 million as of December 31, 2013), plus interest, inflation adjustments, and attorneys’ fees, as authorized by Brazilian law, which amounts could be significant over time. The original suit sought R$89 million (the equivalent of approximately $38 million as of December 31, 2013) in damages. In October 2013, ECT asserted an additional damage claim of R$22 million (the equivalent of approximately $9 million as of December 31, 2013). In its counterclaim, Solystic alleges ECT breached the contract by wrongfully refusing to accept the equipment Solystic had designed and built and seeks damages of approximately €31 million (the equivalent of approximately $43 million as of December 31, 2013), plus interest, inflation adjustments, and attorneys’ fees, as authorized by Brazilian law. The Brazilian court retained an expert to consider certain issues pending before it. On August 8, 2013, the company received a report from the expert, which contains some recommended findings relating to liability and the damages calculations put forth by ECT. Some of the expert's findings were favorable to the company and others were favorable to ECT. On November 14, 2013, the court requested the expert to prepare a supplemental report addressing responses filed by the parties in October 2013. At some point after the supplemental report is filed, the court is expected to issue a decision that could accept or reject the expert’s recommended findings.
The company is a party to various investigations, lawsuits, claims and other legal proceedings, including government investigations and claims, that arise in the ordinary course of our business. The nature of legal proceedings is such that we cannot assure the outcome of any particular matter. However, based on information available to the company to date, and other than with respect to the FSS matters discussed separately above, the company does not believe that the outcome of any matter pending against the company is likely to have a material adverse effect on the company's consolidated financial position as of December 31, 2013, its annual results of operations and/or cash flows.