Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2023
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies 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 its 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.On September 7, 2022, the motions to dismiss were denied by the court. Pursuant to the automatic stay of proceedings under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, all discovery was stayed pending the motions to dismiss and the June 23, 2023 mediation to which all of the parties agreed. As of the date of these financial statements, discovery has recommenced as the mediation did not result in a settlement and the motions to dismiss were denied.
The Defendants continue strongly to dispute and deny the allegations and continue to defending themselves vigorously 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 sought 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 and attorneys’ fees of $475,000. In subsequent proceedings, the Appeals Court affirmed the District Court judgment. Of the total amount awarded to SA, less the funds that the Company had previously deposited with the District Court, SA remains entitled to approximately $382,000 of statutory interest, which obligation SA continues to attempt to collect from the Company, although that obligation was assumed by the Buyer in connection with the ARCA and Subsidiaries Disposition transaction (see Note 18).
On or about April 9, 2021, GeoTraq, Gregg Sullivan, Tony Isaac, and we, 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 each 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 the Company’s 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. On March 17, 2023, the Company converted 5,185 of Mr. Sullivan’s Series A-1 Preferred shares and issued 103,707 shares of the Company's common stock as payment for its quarterly installment. On June 1, 2023, the Company converted 7,697 of Mr. Sullivan’s Series A-1 Preferred shares into 153,941 shares of the Company’s common stock in payment of its June 30, 2023 quarterly installment. On September 1, 2023, the Company converted 14,471 of Mr. Sullivan’s Series A-1 Preferred shares into 289,421 shares of the Company’s common stock in payment of its September 30, 2023 quarterly installment. (see Note 13). As of September 30, 2023, the full balance due under the Settlement Agreement had been repaid.
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. The accrued liability for payments due to Mr. Sullivan is $0 and $510,000 as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, respectively.
On March 6, 2023, Sieggreen, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, v. Live Ventures Incorporated, Jon Isaac, and Virland A. Johnson, Defendants, the Company was added as a defendant on March 6, 2023, and was served on March 23, 2023. Plaintiff has alleged causes of action against the Company for (i) violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder and (ii) violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules
10b-5(a) and 10b-5(c) promulgated thereunder. In June 2023 the Company filed a Motion to Dismiss, regarding which, as of the date of these financial statements, the Court has not ruled. The Company strongly disputes and denies all of the allegations contained therein and will continue to defend itself vigorously against the claims.
The Company is a defendant in an action filed on April 11, 2022, in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, styled, Trustees Main/270, LLC, Plaintiff, vs ApplianceSmart, Inc. and JANONE, Inc., Defendant, Case no.: 2:22-cv-01938-ALM-EPD. The Company was a guarantor of the lease between the Plaintiff and ApplianceSmart, Inc. Plaintiff alleged a cause of action against the Company in respect of the guaranty and seeks approximately $90,000 therefor. Plaintiff also seeks approximately $1,420,000 against ApplianceSmart and the Company on a joint and several basis. The Company does not believe that it is obligated to Plaintiff in that amount and the parties continue to negotiate a potential settlement.
Westerville Square
In an attempt to recover payments due under a lease, in 2019, Westerville Square, Inc., as the landlord, initiated a civil action against the Company, styled Westerville Square, Inc. v. Appliance Recycling Centers Of America, Inc., et al., in the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Ohio, Case No. 19 CV 8627. The case was stayed during the bankruptcy proceedings of ApplianceSmart, Inc., and was reinstated on June 7, 2021. The landlord sought $120,000, which amount was disputed by the Company. Effective June 4, 2023, the parties settled the matter, pursuant to which settlement the Company tendered the sum of $110,000 to the landlord, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement and Release, and the case was dismissed with prejudice.
Other Commitments
On December 30, 2017, the Company disposed of its retail appliance segment and sold ApplianceSmart to Live Ventures Incorporated, a related party. 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 year ended December 31, 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. As of September 30, 2023, 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 September 30, 2023.