Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

18. Commitments and Contingencies

18. Commitments and Contingencies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 29, 2018
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and Contingencies

Note 18:       Commitments and Contingencies





On December 29, 2016, ARCA served a Minnesota state court complaint for breach of contract on Skybridge Americas, Inc. (“SA”), ARCA’s primary call center vendor throughout 2015 and most of 2016. ARCA 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 ARCA’s breach of contract claim based on SA’s overuse of its Canadian call center but permitted ARCA’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 $613,566.32, 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 ARCA’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 of $133,867.50, etc. was reversed. At December 29, 2018, ARCA had recorded a liability in the amount of $497,792 and a refundable escrow deposit of approximately $400,000 related to Skybridge litigation. The District Court is expected to release the escrow funds after a period of 30 days from the Court of Appeals decision.


On November 15, 2016, ARCA served an arbitration demand on Haier US Appliance Solutions, Inc., dba GE Appliances (“GEA”), alleging breach of contract and interference with prospective business advantage. ARCA seeks over $2 million in damages. On April 18, 2017, GEA served a counterclaim for approximately $337,000 in alleged obligations under the parties’ recycling agreement. Simultaneously with serving its counterclaim in the arbitration, which is venued in Chicago, GEA filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky seeking damages of approximately $530,000 plus interest and attorneys’ fees allegedly owed under a previous agreement between the parties. On December 12, 2017, the court stayed GEA’s complaint in favor of the arbitration. Under the terms of ARCA’s transaction with Recleim LLC (“Recleim”), Recleim is obligated to pay GEA on ARCA’s behalf the amounts claimed by GEA in the arbitration and in the lawsuit pending in Kentucky. Those amounts Recleim is obligated to pay have been paid into escrow pending the outcome of the arbitration. The arbitration is currently scheduled for August 2019 however the parties have agreed to mediation in advance of the arbitration.


AMTIM Capital, Inc. (“AMTIM”) acts as our 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 us 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 us of approximately $2.0 million. Although the outcome of this claim is uncertain, we believe that no further amounts are due under the terms of the agreement and that we will continue to defend our position relative to this lawsuit. 


We are party from time to time to other ordinary course disputes that we do not believe to be material.


Other commitments


For discussion related to potential obligations and or guarantees under ApplianceSmart Leases, see Note 1.


Operating Leases


The Company leases its office space and recycling centers under non-cancelable operating leases expiring through fiscal year 2022. Rent expense under these leases for continuing operations was $2,252 and $1,450 for the fiscal years ended December 29, 2018 and December 30, 2017, respectively. Rent expense may include certain common area charges such as taxes, maintenance, utilities and insurance.


Future minimum annual rental commitments under noncancelable operating lease agreements as of December 29, 2018 are as follows:


Fiscal year 2019   $ 789  
Fiscal year 2020     459  
Fiscal year 2021     129  
Fiscal year 2022     98  
Fiscal year 2023     58  
    $ 1,533