|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L.P.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
We do not record a contingent liability when the likelihood of loss is probable but the amount cannot be reasonably estimated or when the likelihood of loss is believed to be only reasonably possible or remote. For contingencies where an unfavorable outcome is reasonably possible and the impact would be material to our consolidated financial statements, we disclose the nature of the contingency and, where feasible, an estimate of the possible loss or range of loss. Based on a consideration of all relevant known facts and circumstances, we do not believe that the ultimate outcome of any currently pending litigation directed against us will have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements either individually at the claim level or in the aggregate.
At December 31, 2017 and 2016, our accruals for litigation contingencies were $4.5 million and $0.3 million, respectively, and were recorded in our Consolidated Balance Sheets as a component of “Other current liabilities.” Our evaluation of litigation contingencies is based on the facts and circumstances of each case and predicting the outcome of these matters involves uncertainties. In the event the assumptions we use to evaluate these matters change in future periods or new information becomes available, we may be required to record additional accruals. In an effort to mitigate expenses associated with litigation, we may settle legal proceedings out of court.
ETP Matter. In connection with a proposed pipeline project, we and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (“ETP”) signed a non-binding letter of intent in April 2011 that disclaimed any partnership or joint venture related to such project absent executed definitive documents and board approvals of the respective companies. Definitive agreements were never executed and board approval was never obtained for the potential pipeline project. In August 2011, the proposed pipeline project was cancelled due to a lack of customer support.
In September 2011, ETP filed suit against us and a third party in connection with the cancelled project alleging, among other things, that we and ETP had formed a “partnership.” The case was tried in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas, 298th Judicial District. While we firmly believe, and argued during our defense, that no agreement was ever executed forming a legal joint venture or partnership between the parties, the jury found that the actions of the two companies, nevertheless, constituted a legal partnership. As a result, the jury found that ETP was wrongfully excluded from a subsequent pipeline project involving a third party, and awarded ETP $319.4 million in actual damages on March 4, 2014. On July 29, 2014, the court entered judgment against us in an aggregate amount of $535.8 million, which includes (i) $319.4 million as the amount of actual damages awarded by the jury, (ii) an additional $150.0 million in disgorgement for the alleged benefit we received due to a breach of fiduciary duties by us against ETP and (iii) prejudgment interest in the amount of $66.4 million. The court also awarded post-judgment interest on such aggregate amount, to accrue at a rate of 5%, compounded annually.
We filed our Brief of the Appellant in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Dallas, Texas on March 30, 2015 and ETP filed its Brief of Appellees on June 29, 2015. We filed our Reply Brief of Appellant on September 18, 2015. Oral argument was conducted on April 20, 2016, and the case was then submitted to the Court of Appeals for its consideration. On July 18, 2017, a panel of the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion reversing the trial court’s judgment as to all of ETP’s claims against us, rendering judgment that ETP take nothing on those claims, and affirming our counterclaim against ETP of approximately $0.8 million, plus interest.
On August 31, 2017, ETP filed a motion for rehearing before the Dallas Court of Appeals, which was denied on September 13, 2017. On December 27, 2017, ETP filed its Petition for Review with the Supreme Court of Texas. As of December 31, 2017, we have not recorded a provision for this matter as management continues to believe that payment of damages by us in this case is not probable. We continue to monitor developments involving this matter.
PDH Litigation. In July 2013, we executed a contract with Foster Wheeler USA Corporation (“Foster Wheeler”) pursuant to which Foster Wheeler was to serve as the general contractor responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of our PDH facility. In November 2014, Foster Wheeler was acquired by an affiliate of AMEC plc to form Amec Foster Wheeler plc, and Foster Wheeler is now known as Amec Foster Wheeler USA Corporation (“AFW”). In December 2015, Enterprise and AFW entered into a transition services agreement under which AFW was partially terminated from the PDH project. In December 2015, Enterprise engaged a second contractor, Optimized Process Designs LLC, to complete the construction and installation of the PDH facility.