Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Jul. 02, 2022
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

Note 16: Commitments and Contingencies


SEC Complaint


On August 2, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a civil complaint (the “SEC Complaint”) in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada naming the Company and one of its executive officers, Virland Johnson, the Company's Chief Financial Officer, as defendants (collectively, the “Defendants”).


The SEC Complaint alleges financial, disclosure and reporting violations against the Company and the executive officer under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5. The SEC Complaint also alleges various claims against the executive officer under Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B) and 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-13, 13a-14, 13b2-1, and 13b2-2. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions and civil penalties against the Defendants, and an officer-and-director bar against the executive officer. The foregoing is only a general summary of the SEC Complaint, which may be accessed on the SEC’s website at https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2021/lr25155.htm.


The Company continues to assert that the SEC’s pursuit of this matter will not result in any benefit to investors and instead will only serve as a distraction from core business. On October 1, 2021, the Company, filed a motion with the court to dismiss the complaint. The SEC filed its response opposing the motions on November 1, 2021. The Defendants filed their reply to the SEC’s opposition on November 15, 2021. The motions to dismiss are now under submission and the court has not yet scheduled a hearing date. Pursuant to the automatic stay of proceedings under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, all discovery has been stayed pending the motions to dismiss.


The Defendants strongly dispute and deny the allegations and are vigorously defending themselves against the claims.



On December 29, 2016, the Company served a Minnesota state court complaint for breach of contract on Skybridge Americas, Inc. (“SA”), the Company’s primary call center vendor throughout 2015 and most of 2016. The Company seeks damages in the millions of dollars as a result of alleged overcharging by SA and lost client contracts. On January 25, 2017, SA served a counterclaim for unpaid invoices in the amount of approximately $460,000 plus interest and attorneys’ fees. On March 29, 2017, the Hennepin County district court (the “District Court”) dismissed the Company’s breach of contract claim based on SA’s overuse of its Canadian call center but permitted the Company’s remaining claims to proceed. Following motion practice, on January 8, 2018 the District Court entered judgment in SA’s favor, which was amended as of February 28, 2018, for a total amount of approximately $614,000 including interest and attorneys’ fees. On March 4, 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals (the “Court of Appeals”) ruled and (i) reversed the District Court’s judgment in favor of Skybridge on the call center location claim and remanded the issue back to the District Court for further proceedings, (ii) reversed the District Court’s judgment in favor of Skybridge on the net payment issue and remanded the issue to the District Court for further proceedings, and (iii) affirmed the District Court’s judgment in Skybridge’s favor against the Company’s claim that Skybridge breached the contract when it failed to meet the service level agreements. As a result of the decision by the Court of Appeals, the District Court’s award of interest and attorneys’ fees, etc. was reversed. The Company and SA held a mediation session in July 2020. Trial was held in August 2020 and on February 1, 2021, the District Court assessed damages against the Company in the amount of approximately $715,000 plus interest, fees, and costs. The Company filed a motion for a new trial and is waiting for the District Court to rule.

AMTIM Capital

AMTIM Capital, Inc. (“AMTIM”) acts as the Company’s representative to market our recycling services in Canada under an arrangement that pays AMTIM for revenues generated by recycling services in Canada as set forth in the agreement between the parties. A dispute has arisen between AMTIM and the Company with respect to the calculation of amounts due to AMTIM pursuant to the agreement. In a lawsuit filed in the province of Ontario, AMTIM claims a discrepancy in the calculation of fees due to AMTIM by the Company of approximately $2.0 million. Although the outcome of this claim is uncertain, the Company believes that no further amounts are due under the terms of the agreement and that it will continue to defend its position relative to this lawsuit. Trial commenced in February 2022; but, as of the date of this Quarterly Report, the court has not rendered a judgment.



On or about April 9, 2021, GeoTraq, Gregg Sullivan, Tony Isaac, and the Company, among others, resolved all of their claims that related to, among other items, the Company's acquisition of GeoTraq in August 2017, all post-acquisition activities, and Mr. Sullivan’s post-acquisition employment relationship with GeoTraq (all of such claims, the “GeoTraq Matters”). The resolution was effectuated through the parties’ execution and delivery of a Settlement Agreement and Mutual Agreement of Claims (the “GeoTraq Settlement Agreement”).


Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Company, on its own behalf and on behalf of GeoTraq and Mr. Isaac, agreed to tender to Mr. Sullivan an aggregate of $1.95 million (the “GeoTraq Settlement Consideration”) in the following manner: (i) $250,000, which was tendered in cash on or about the date of the Settlement Agreement and (ii) up to 10 quarterly installments of not less than $170,000 that commenced on June 1, 2021, and shall continue not less frequently than every three months thereafter (the “GeoTraq Installments”). The Company may tender the GeoTraq Installments in cash or in the equivalent value of shares of its common stock (the value of the shares to be determined by a formula set forth in the Settlement Agreement), in either case at the Company's discretion. The Company may also prepay one or more GeoTraq Installments in full or in part at any time or from time to time either in cash or in shares of its common stock (a “GeoTraq Prepayment”). If the Company elects to prepay one or more GeoTraq Installments with shares of its common stock, Mr. Sullivan reserves the right not to consent to a tender thereof in excess of 50% of the value of that specific GeoTraq Prepayment; however, Mr. Sullivan is restricted in the reasons for which he can refuse to provide his written consent. The number of shares of our common stock to be issued upon any GeoTraq Prepayment is determined by a different formula than the one to be utilized for a GeoTraq Installment.


Pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, Mr. Sullivan provided the Company with his proxy to vote his remaining shares of its Series A-1 Preferred Stock that the Company had issued to him in connection with its acquisition of GeoTraq in 2017, as well as his proxy for the shares of the Company's common stock into which those shares of preferred stock may be converted. The Company may utilize the proxy in the context of an annual meeting of its stockholders, a special meeting of its stockholders, and a written consent of its stockholders. Subject to the above-described contingent GeoTraq Prepayment tender 50% restriction, Mr. Sullivan provided the Company with the sole ability to determine the time and amount of each conversion of those shares of preferred stock.


The parties to the Settlement Agreement released and forever discharged one another from any and all known and unknown claims that were asserted or could have been asserted arising out of the GeoTraq Litigation Matters. As of July 2, 2022, the accrued liability for payments due to Mr. Sullivan under the settlement agreement was $850,000.

Other Commitments

As previously disclosed and as discussed, on December 30, 2017, the Company disposed of its retail appliance segment and sold ApplianceSmart to the Purchaser (see Note 6). In connection with that sale, as of December 28, 2019, the Company accrued an aggregate amount of future real property lease payments of approximately $767,000 which represented amounts guaranteed or which may have been owed under certain lease agreements to three third party landlords in which the Company either remained the counterparty, was a guarantor, or had agreed to remain contractually liable under the lease (“ApplianceSmart Leases”). A final decree was issued by the court on February 28, 2022, upon the full satisfaction of the Plan, at which time ApplianceSmart emerged from Chapter 11. During the 26 weeks ended July 2, 2022, the Company reversed approximately $637,000 of the accrual, as the Company is no longer liable for two of these guarantees upon ApplianceSmart's emergence from bankruptcy (see Note 11). As of July 2, 2022, a balance of approximately $130,000 remains as an accrued liability due to an ongoing dispute concerning one of the leases.

The Company is party from time to time to other ordinary course disputes that we do not believe to be material to our financial condition as of July 2, 2022.