Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Litigation, Other Contingencies and Guarantees

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Litigation, Other Contingencies and Guarantees
12 Months Ended
Feb. 03, 2018
Litigation, Other Contingencies and Guarantees [Abstract]  
Litigation, Other Contingencies and Guarantees
Litigation and Other Contingencies
   
Litigation 
Class Action Securities Litigation
The Company, Myron E. Ullman, III and Kenneth H. Hannah are parties to the Marcus consolidated purported class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. The Marcus consolidated complaint is purportedly brought on behalf of persons who acquired our common stock during the period from August 20, 2013 through September 26, 2013, and alleges claims for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Plaintiff claims that the defendants made false and misleading statements and/or omissions regarding the Company’s financial condition and business prospects that caused our common stock to trade at artificially inflated prices.  The consolidated complaint seeks class certification, unspecified compensatory damages, including interest, reasonable costs and expenses, and other relief as the court may deem just and proper. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint which was denied by the court on September 29, 2015. Defendants filed an answer to the consolidated complaint on November 12, 2015. Plaintiff filed a motion for class certification on January 25, 2016, and on August 29, 2016, a magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation that the motion for class certification be granted. The district court adopted this report and recommendation granting class certification on March 8, 2017.

Also, on August 26, 2014, plaintiff Nathan Johnson filed a purported class action lawsuit against the Company, Myron E. Ullman, III and Kenneth H. Hannah in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. The suit is purportedly brought on behalf of persons who acquired our securities other than common stock during the period from August 20, 2013 through September 26, 2013, generally mirrors the allegations contained in the Marcus lawsuit discussed above, and seeks similar relief. On June 8, 2015, plaintiff in the Marcus lawsuit amended the consolidated complaint to include the members of the purported class in the Johnson lawsuit, and on June 10, 2015, the Johnson lawsuit was consolidated into the Marcus lawsuit.

The parties have reached an agreement to settle the consolidated securities class action for $97.5 million, which will be funded by insurance. The court granted final approval of the settlement on January 4, 2018.

Shareholder Derivative Litigation
In October 2013, two purported shareholder derivative actions were filed against certain present and former members of the Company’s Board of Directors and executives by the following parties in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division: Weitzman (filed October 2, 2013) and Zauderer (filed October 3, 2013). The Company is named as a nominal defendant in both suits. The lawsuits assert claims for breaches of fiduciary duties and unjust enrichment based upon alleged false and misleading statements and/or omissions regarding the Company’s financial condition. The lawsuits seek unspecified compensatory damages, restitution, disgorgement by the defendants of all profits, benefits and other compensation, equitable relief to reform the Company’s corporate governance and internal procedures, reasonable costs and expenses, and other relief as the court may deem just and proper. On October 28, 2013, the Court consolidated the two cases into the Weitzman lawsuit. On January 15, 2014, the Court entered an order staying the derivative suits pending certain events in the class action securities litigation described above. On January 24, 2018, the Court issued an order reopening the suits.

Also, in March 2016, plaintiff Frank Lipsius filed a purported shareholder derivative action against certain present and former members of the Company's Board of Directors and executives in the District Court of Collin County in the State of Texas. The Company is named as a nominal defendant in the suit. The suit generally mirrors the allegations contained in the Weitzman and Zauderer suits discussed above, and seeks similar relief. On May 18, 2017, plaintiff in the Lipsius suit voluntarily dismissed the Collin County action, and on May 19, 2017, refiled the action in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas.

On June 8, 2017, the Company’s Board of Directors received a demand from a purported shareholder of the Company, Douglas Carlson, to conduct an investigation regarding potential claims that certain present and former members of the Board of Directors and executives violated federal securities law and/or breached their fiduciary duties to the Company based upon allegations similar to those in the Marcus class action securities litigation and the related shareholder derivative litigation. The Board of Directors appointed a committee of independent directors (the "Demand Review Committee") to review the demand and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors regarding a response to the demand. In November 2017, the Demand Review Committee completed its review and recommended that the demand be denied, which recommendation was adopted by the Board of Directors.

While no assurance can be given as to the ultimate outcome of these matters, we believe that the final resolution of these actions will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, liquidity or capital resources.

ERISA Class Action Litigation
JCP and certain present and former members of JCP's Board of Directors have been sued in a purported class action complaint by plaintiffs Roberto Ramirez and Thomas Ihle, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, which was filed on July 8, 2014 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. The suit alleges that the defendants violated Section 502 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by breaching fiduciary duties relating to the J. C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit-Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan (the Plan). The class period is alleged to be between November 1, 2011 and September 27, 2013. Plaintiffs allege that they and others who invested in or held Company stock in the Plan during this period were injured because defendants allegedly made false and misleading statements and/or omissions regarding the Company’s financial condition and business prospects that caused the Company’s common stock to trade at artificially inflated prices. The complaint seeks class certification, declaratory relief, a constructive trust, reimbursement of alleged losses to the Plan, actual damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and other relief. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint which was granted in part and denied in part by the court on September 29, 2015. The parties reached a settlement agreement pursuant to which JCP will make available $4.5 million to settle class members’ claims, and the court granted final approval of the settlement on December 18, 2017.

Employment Class Action Litigation
JCP is a defendant in a class action proceeding entitled Tschudy v. JCPenney Corporation filed on April 15, 2011 in the U.S.
District Court, Southern District of California. The lawsuit alleges that JCP violated the California Labor Code in connection with the alleged forfeiture of accrued and vested vacation time under its “My Time Off” policy. The class consists of all JCP employees who worked in California from April 5, 2007 to the present. Plaintiffs amended the complaint to assert additional claims under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act on behalf of all JCP employees who worked in Illinois from January 1, 2004 to the present. After the court granted JCP’s motion to transfer the Illinois claims, those claims are now pending in a separate action in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, entitled Garcia v. JCPenney Corporation. The lawsuits seek compensatory damages, penalties, interest, disgorgement, declaratory and injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees and costs. Plaintiffs in both lawsuits filed motions, which the Company opposed, to certify these actions on behalf of all employees in California and Illinois based on the specific claims at issue. On December 17, 2014, the California court granted plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Pursuant to a motion by the Company, the California court decertified the class on December 9, 2015. On March 30, 2016, the California court granted JCP’s motion for summary judgment. On April 26, 2016, the California plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal. On May 4, 2016, the California court entered judgment for JCP on all plaintiffs’ claims. The Illinois court denied without prejudice plaintiffs' motion for class certification pending the filing of an amended complaint. Plaintiffs filed their amended complaint in the Illinois lawsuit on April 14, 2015 and the Company answered. On July 2, 2015, the Illinois plaintiffs renewed their motion for class certification, which the Illinois court granted on March 8, 2016. The parties have reached a settlement agreement, subject to final court approval, to resolve the California action for $1.75 million. The California court granted final approval of the settlement on November 3, 2017. The parties have also reached a settlement agreement to resolve the Illinois action for $5 million. The Illinois court granted final approval of the settlement on August 9, 2017.
Other Legal Proceedings
We are subject to various other legal and governmental proceedings involving routine litigation incidental to our business. Accruals have been established based on our best estimates of our potential liability in certain of these matters, including certain matters discussed above, all of which we believe aggregate to an amount that is not material to the Consolidated Financial Statements. These estimates were developed in consultation with in-house and outside counsel. While no assurance can be given as to the ultimate outcome of these matters, we currently believe that the final resolution of these actions, individually or in the aggregate, will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, liquidity or capital resources.
      
Contingencies
As of February 3, 2018, we have an estimated accrual of $20 million related to potential environmental liabilities that is recorded in Other accounts payable and accrued expenses and Other liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheet. This estimate covered potential liabilities primarily related to underground storage tanks, remediation of environmental conditions involving our former drugstore locations and asbestos removal in connection with approved plans to renovate or dispose of our facilities. We continue to assess required remediation and the adequacy of environmental reserves as new information becomes available and known conditions are further delineated. If we were to incur losses at the estimated amount, we do not believe that such losses would have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

As a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, the Company incurred varying property damage and inventory losses in all of its Puerto Rico stores, in one store in Texas and in one store in Florida. Costs related to the property damage and inventory losses are recoverable (net of deductibles) from property insurance maintained by the Company and from certain landlords per the store leases. We have recorded $16 million in losses related to the cost of any property damage and inventory losses and have collected $15 million in loss recoveries from our insurance provider and have a receivable of $1 million for future expected recoveries.