Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2014
Commitments and Contingencies.  
Commitments and Contingencies

13.       Commitments and Contingencies




General — Like most companies, we are involved on an ongoing basis in claims, lawsuits, and government proceedings relating to our operations, including environmental, patent infringement, business practices, commercial transactions, product and general liability, workers’ compensation, auto liability, employment, and other matters.  The ultimate outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty.  An estimated loss from these contingencies is recognized when we believe it is probable that a loss has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated; however, it is difficult to measure the actual loss that might be incurred related to litigation.  If a loss is not considered probable and/or cannot be reasonably estimated, we are required to make a disclosure if there is at least a reasonable possibility that a significant loss may have been incurred.  Legal fees associated with claims and lawsuits are generally expensed as incurred.


Claims other than employment and related matters have deductibles and self-insured retentions ranging from $0.5 to $1.0 per occurrence or per claim, depending upon the type of coverage and policy period.  Outside insurance companies and third-party claims administrators assist in establishing individual claim reserves, and an independent outside actuary provides estimates of ultimate projected losses, including incurred but not reported claims, which are used to establish reserves for losses.  Claim reserves for employment-related matters are established based upon advice from internal and external counsel and historical settlement information for claims and related fees when such amounts are considered probable of payment.


The recorded amounts represent our best estimate of the costs we will incur in relation to such exposures, but it is possible that actual costs will differ from those estimates.


Matthews Litigation— In August 2010, the York Group, Inc., Milso Industries Corporation, and Matthews International Corporation (collectively “Matthews”) filed a lawsuit against Scott Pontone and Batesville Casket Company, Inc. in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, which was subsequently amended by Matthews in February 2011 to include two additional defendants, Harry Pontone and Pontone Casket Company, LLC (the “Matthews Litigation”).  The Matthews Litigation arises, in part, as a result of a Marketing Consulting Agreement entered into between Batesville and Pontone Casket Company effective June 24, 2010, and Batesville’s hiring of two former employees of certain Matthews entities in June 2010.  Scott Pontone provides consulting services to Batesville pursuant to the Marketing Consulting Agreement entered into between Batesville and Pontone Casket Company.  Matthews alleges that Scott Pontone and Harry Pontone breached contractual and business obligations with Matthews and that Batesville induced certain of those breaches as part of its sales initiatives in the New York metropolitan area.  Batesville has also asserted counterclaims against Matthews.


Matthews claims that it has lost revenue and will lose future revenue in the New York metropolitan area, although the amount of those alleged damages is unspecified.  Matthews seeks to: (i) recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs; and (ii) enjoin certain activities by Harry Pontone, Scott Pontone, Pontone Casket Company, and Batesville and its employees in the New York metropolitan area.  Although Matthews originally moved for a preliminary injunction, that request was withdrawn.  Discovery has closed.   The court has ruled on the parties’ summary judgment motions, determining that factual issues exist for trial on claims and counterclaims.  The jury trial has been scheduled to occur in December 2014.


The Company believes Batesville acted lawfully and intends to defend this matter vigorously.  The Company does not believe, based on currently available information, that the outcome of this lawsuit will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition or liquidity.  If Matthews prevails at trial, however, the outcome could be materially adverse to the Company’s operating results or cash flows for the particular period, depending, in part, upon the operating results or cash flows for such period.


Horstmann Litigation — As previously disclosed, on March 18, 2013, a joint and several judgment was entered by the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Hamm, Germany, in favor of plaintiff, Jürgen Horstmann, and against defendants, Atlas-Vermögensverwaltungs GmbH, ThyssenKrupp Technologies Beteiligungen (“ThyssenKrupp”), and Hillenbrand subsidiary, Coperion, in the amount of €10.3, plus interest, for a total estimated judgment of €18.5 to €19.6 (the “Horstmann Litigation”).


In February 2014, the Federal Court of Justice rejected an appeal of that judgment filed by the defendants, therefore making the judgment final and non-appealable.  On April 28, 2014, Hillenbrand received confirmation that ThyssenKrupp paid the judgment amount specified by the court (including interest) to plaintiff Jürgen Horstmann.


Hillenbrand’s balance sheet at March 31, 2014 and September 30, 2013, included a long-term liability of $9.0 and $8.7 and a corresponding indemnification receivable, recorded in other assets, for $9.0 and $8.7.  These amounts will be eliminated in the third quarter.