LITIGATION AND CLAIMS
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2018
|Litigation And Claims|
|NOTE 21. LITIGATION AND CLAIMS||
The Company is the subject of lawsuits and claims arising in the ordinary course of business from time to time. The Company reviews any such legal proceedings and claims on an ongoing basis and follows appropriate accounting guidance when making accrual and disclosure decisions. The Company establishes accruals for those contingencies where the incurrence of a loss is probable and can be reasonably estimated, and it discloses the amount accrued and the amount of a reasonably possible loss in excess of the amount accrued, if such disclosure is necessary for the Company’s financial statements to not be misleading. To estimate whether a loss contingency should be accrued by a charge to income, the Company evaluates, among other factors, the degree of probability of an unfavorable outcome and the ability to make a reasonable estimate of the amount of the loss. The Company does not record liabilities when the likelihood that the liability has been incurred is probable, but the amount cannot be reasonably estimated. Based upon present information, the Company determined that there were no matters that required an accrual as of December 31, 2018 nor were there any asserted or unasserted material claims for which material losses are reasonably possible.
On April 11, 2018, the Company filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Central District of California against Kenneth Vande Vrede, Michael Vande Vrede, Steven Vande Vrede, Daniel Vande Vrede, Greda Vande Vrede, Beverly Willekes, Brian Vande Vrede, Gro-Rite, Inc. (“Gro-Rite”) and Naturally Beautiful Plant Products, LLC (“Naturally Beautiful”) alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, conversion, fraud, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, misappropriation of trade secrets, and conspiracy related to, among other things, the Share Exchange Agreement, dated as of April 24, 2013 among the Company, the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Edible Garden Corp. (“Edible Garden”), and the individual defendants (the “Share Exchange Agreement”). The Company is seeking monetary damages, including attorneys’ fees and expenses, return of shares of the Company’s common stock issued to the individual defendants under the Share Exchange Agreement, return of stock options issued to the individual defendants, and return of the Company’s intellectual property. As of February 25, 2019, the Court has dismissed all defendants except for Kenneth Vande Vrede based on the other defendants’ lack of contacts with the State of California. The Company intends to appeal this decision and still seeks monetary damages, including attorneys’ fees and expenses, return of shares of the Company’s common stock issued to the individual defendants under the Share Exchange Agreement, return of stock options issued to the individual defendants, and return of the Company’s intellectual property in this case and in other cases discussed herein.
On April 10, 2018, Gro-Rite, Naturally Beautiful and Whitetown Realty (“Whitetown Realty” and collectively, the “Whitetown Realty Plaintiffs”) filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Morris County against the Company and Edible Garden alleging, among other things, that Edible Garden owes certain amounts to Gro-Rite under a Marketing and Distribution Agreement between Edible Garden and Gro-Rite, dated May 7, 2013, and Naturally Beautiful under a Marketing and Distribution Agreement between Edible Garden and Naturally Beautiful, dated May 13, 2013 (collectively, the “Marketing and Distribution Agreements”), and that Edible Garden owes certain amounts to Whitetown Realty under the Lease between Whitetown Realty and Edible Garden, dated January 1, 2015 (the “Lease”). The Whitetown Realty Plaintiffs are seeking, among other things, compensatory damages for the amounts claimed are owed and attorneys’ fees and costs. The Company disputes that Edible Garden owes any payments under the Marketing and Distribution Agreements or the Lease and intends to vigorously defend itself. Accordingly, on May 18, 2018, the company and Edible Garden filed an answer denying the allegations of the plaintiffs. In that same pleading, Edible Garden filed a counterclaim against Naturally Beautiful and Gro-Rite asserting claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, trademark infringement/unfair competition, and tortious interference with contractual relations. Edible Garden also filed a third-party complaint against previously unidentified defendants John Doe Entities 1-10 and John Doe Individuals 1-10 arising from the wrongful misappropriation and pirating of electricity from the Edible Garden facility located at 283 Route 519, Belvidere, New Jersey. That third-party complaint alleges claims for unjust enrichment, tortious interference with contractual relations and conversion. On June 8, 2018, Edible Garden filed an amended counterclaim adding a count for conversion against Naturally Beautiful and Gro-Rite. On June 12, 2018, Edible Garden Corp. filed an amended third-party complaint adding Gerda Vande Vrede as a named third-party defendant. On June 13, 2018, Gro-Rite and Naturally Beautiful filed an answer to Edible Garden’s amended counterclaim and Gerda Vande Vrede filed an answer to Edible Garden’s amended third-party complaint denying the allegations asserted against them. No counterclaims, crossclaims or fourth party complaints were filed on behalf of Gerda Vande Vrede, Naturally Beautiful or Gro-Rite.
On April 13, 2018, Edible Garden Corp. filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey Chancery Division, Warren County against Whitetown Realty in response to a letter from a law firm representing Whitetown Realty alleging Edible Garden was in default of the Lease. Edible Garden is seeking declaratory and equitable relief to prevent Whitetown Realty from terminating the Lease and for attorneys’ fees and costs. The Company believes that Edible Garden has made all payments due to Whitetown Realty under the Lease and maintains Edible Garden is not in default of the Lease. On April 23, 2018, by order of the assignment judge of Warren County, the lawsuit was transferred to Morris County and consolidated with the April 10, 2018 lawsuit previously filed by Gro-Rite, Naturally Beautiful and Whitetown Realty in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County. On June 13, 2018, Whitetown Realty filed its answer to the Edible Garden Complaint. In that answer, Whitetown Realty denies that Edible Garden is entitled to the declaratory and equitable relief that Edible Garden requested. No counterclaim was filed by Whitetown Realty.
On April 11, 2018, Kenneth Vande Vrede, Michael Vande Vrede and Steven Vande Vrede (collectively, the “Vande Vrede Brothers”) filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Warren County against the Company and Edible Garden alleging, among other things, that the Company and Edible Garden improperly suspended the Vande Vrede Brothers from their positions with the Company and Edible Garden. The Vande Vrede Brothers were seeking, among other things, a declaratory judgment that they did not violate their fiduciary duties owed to the Company or Edible Garden and reinstating the Vande Vrede Brothers to their status with the Company and Edible Garden prior to their suspensions and attorneys’ fees and costs. The original complaint in this matter was never served, and on June 12, 2018, the Vande Vrede Brothers, and now David Vande Vrede, Daniel Vande Vrede, Beverly Willekes, and Whitetown Realty filed an amended complaint against Terra Tech, Edible Garden, Derek Peterson, Michael James, and Michael Nahass. The Company filed a pre-answer motion to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing that any of the plaintiffs’ claims that relate to the Share Exchange Agreement, belong in the already existing lawsuit in California, and any of the plaintiffs’ claims that relate to the lease, belong in the already existing lawsuits in New Jersey. The Company disputes the Vande Vredes’ allegations in the lawsuit and intends to vigorously defend itself. On September 19, 2018, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Warren County denied the Company’s pre-answer motion to dismiss without prejudice and transferred the matter to Morris County to be consolidated with the other two matters already pending in Morris County, and the Company renewed its pre-answer motion to dismiss in Morris County. On December 17, 2018, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County denied the Company’s motion to dismiss. On January 22, 2019, the Company filed its answer and asserted counterclaims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, and conspiracy in Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County against the Vande Vredes. We are awaiting the answer to the Company’s counterclaims.
On February 28, 2019, the court held a case management conference for all the three consolidated matters in Morris County and set a discovery end date of October 15, 2019.
On September 15, 2017, through our wholly-owned subsidiary, IVXX, Inc., we filed a lawsuit against Callow Distribution, LLC, a California limited liability company controlled by David Weidenbach, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange. In the Complaint for Breach of Contract, Conversion, and Injunctive Relief, we requested that the Court award to us, among other things, damages according to proof, attorneys’ fees, and costs of suit. On December 3, 2018, we appeared for trial and provided sufficient evidence to the Court to prove our case in full to its satisfaction. The judge ruled from the bench in our favor. We then prepared the form of Judgment, which the Court entered on December 10, 2018, and made publicly available on December 13, 2018. The judgment in our favor and against Callow Distribution, LLC is in the amount of $0.95 million. We intend to pursue our post-judgment collection rights vigorously, although there is no assurance as to the timing of collection and the amount that we will collect.
On November 21, 2018, Heidi Loeb Hegerich, Forever Green NV, and Forever Young Investments, L.L.C. filed a lawsuit against the Company, certain of its subsidiaries and affiliates, and certain unrelated parties in the Second Judicial District of the County of Washoe, State of Nevada, alleging, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and fraud, and seeking monetary damages and equitable relief. On February 26, 2019, the parties entered into a settlement agreement pursuant to which the plaintiffs agreed to settle and dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. See “Note 23 – Subsequent Events” for further discussion.