COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|12 Months Ended|
Jan. 28, 2017
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
Operating Lease Commitments
Future minimum lease payments under noncancelable store and distribution center operating leases are as follows:
The above future minimum lease payments include amounts for leases that were signed prior to January 28, 2017 for stores that were not open as of January 28, 2017.
Minimum rental payments for operating leases do not include contingent rentals that may be paid under certain store leases based on a percentage of sales in excess of stipulated amounts. Future minimum lease payments have not been reduced by expected future minimum sublease rentals of $0.6 million under operating leases.
Minimum and Contingent Rentals
Rental expense for store and distribution center operating leases included in the accompanying consolidated income statements are as follows:
The Company has commitments totaling approximately $13.5 million to purchase primarily store technology assets and maintenance for its stores during 2017.
The Company has contracted for telecommunication services with agreements expiring in 2020. The total amount of these commitments is approximately $104.7 million.
Letters of Credit
The Company is a party to three Letter of Credit Reimbursement and Security Agreements providing $120.0 million, $110.0 million, and $100.0 million, respectively, for letters of credit. Letters of credit under these agreements are generally issued for the routine purchase of imported merchandise and approximately $194.9 million was committed to these letters of credit at January 28, 2017.
At January 28, 2017, the Company also had approximately $160.7 million in standby letters of credit that serve as collateral for its large-deductible insurance programs and expire in fiscal 2017.
The Company has issued various surety bonds that primarily serve as collateral for utility payments at the Company's stores and self-insured insurance programs. These bonds total approximately $69.8 million and are committed through various dates through fiscal 2020.
The Company is a defendant in legal proceedings including those described below and will vigorously defend itself in these matters. The Company does not believe that any of these matters will, individually or in the aggregate, have a material effect on its business or financial condition. The Company cannot give assurance, however, that one or more of these matters will not have a material effect on its results of operations for the quarter or year in which they are resolved.
The Company assesses its legal proceedings and reserves are established if a loss is probable and the amount of such loss can be reasonably estimated. Many if not substantially all of the contingencies described below are subject to significant uncertainties and, therefore, determining the likelihood of a loss and the measurement of any loss can be complex and subject to judgment. With respect to legal proceedings where the Company has determined that a loss is reasonably possible but not probable, the Company is unable to estimate the amount or range of reasonably possible loss due to the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of and uncertainties regarding legal proceedings. The Company’s assessments are based on estimates and assumptions that have been deemed reasonable by management, but that may prove to be incomplete or inaccurate, and unanticipated events and circumstances may occur that might cause the Company to change those estimates and assumptions. Management’s assessment of legal proceedings could change because of future determinations or the discovery of facts which are not presently known. Accordingly, the ultimate costs of resolving these proceedings may be substantially higher or lower than currently estimated.
Dollar Tree Active Matters
In April 2015, a distribution center employee filed a class action in California state court with allegations concerning wages, meal and rest breaks, recovery periods, wage statements and timely termination pay. The employee filed an amended complaint in which he abandoned his attempt to certify a nation-wide class of non-exempt distribution center employees for alleged improper calculation of overtime compensation. The Company removed this lawsuit to federal court. The court is now considering the employee’s motion to certify the case as a state-wide class action.
In April 2015, a former store manager filed a class action in California state court alleging store managers were improperly classified as exempt employees and, among other things, did not receive overtime compensation and meal and rest periods and alleging PAGA claims on behalf of all store employees, including claims for failure to make wage statements readily available to employees who did not receive paper checks. The Court denied certification of the classification issue and related claims but did certify a wage statement class. There has been no ruling on the PAGA claims.
In April 2016, the Company was served with a putative class action in Florida state court brought by a former store employee asserting the Company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the way it handled background checks. Specifically, the former employee alleged the Company used disclosure forms that did not meet the statute’s requirements and failed to provide notices accompanied by background reports prior to taking adverse actions against prospective and existing employees based on information in the background reports. The plaintiff is seeking statutory damages of $100 to $1,000 per violation.
In April 2016, a former store manager filed a lawsuit in California state court alleging individual claims of pregnancy and disability discrimination in addition to asserting PAGA claims on behalf of herself and other store managers alleging they were improperly classified as exempt and therefore, among other things, did not receive overtime compensation and meal and rest periods. The classification claims have been stayed pending the outcome of other lawsuits which were previously filed alleging similar PAGA claims.
In July 2016, a former non-exempt sales associate filed in federal court in Arkansas a putative nationwide collective action alleging the Company forced sales associates and assistant store managers to work off the clock while clocked out for meal breaks and, as a result, underpaid regular and overtime pay. In September 2016, the court granted the Company’s motion to compel arbitration. To date, the former associate has not initiated any arbitration proceedings.
In March 2017, a former store manager filed suit in a state court in Florida, seeking to represent a collective, alleging failure to pay non-exempt employees minimum wage for all time worked and overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and, individually, alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of federal and state civil rights laws.
Dollar Tree Resolved Matters
In 2011, an assistant store manager and an hourly associate filed a collective action against the Company alleging they were forced to work off the clock in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and state law. A federal judge in Virginia ruled that all claims made on behalf of assistant store managers under both the FLSA and state law should be dismissed. The court, however, certified an opt-in collective action under the FLSA on behalf of hourly sales associates. Approximately 4,300 plaintiffs remained in the case. The court approved settlement of the lawsuit which it has now dismissed. The settlement amount has been paid.
In 2013, a former assistant store manager on behalf of himself and others alleged to be similarly aggrieved filed a representative Private Attorney General Act ("PAGA") claim under California law currently pending in federal court in California. The suit alleges that the Company failed to provide uninterrupted meal periods and rest breaks; failed to pay minimum, regular and overtime wages; failed to maintain accurate time records and wage statements; and failed to pay wages due upon termination of employment. In May 2014, the same assistant store manager filed a putative class action in a California state court for essentially the same conduct alleged in the federal court PAGA case. The parties have reached an agreement to settle the two cases and the proposed settlement amount has been accrued. The two trial courts have now approved the terms of the settlement.
In May 2014, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") began a staff investigation of circumstances related to Letters of Advice that the Company received from the CPSC from 2009 to 2013. The CPSC also investigated Letters of Advice the Company received in 2014 and 2015. The CPSC has now closed its investigations without any penalty or adverse action against the Company.
In November 2015, the Company was served in a PAGA representative action under California law in California state court on behalf of former assistant store managers alleging defective wage statements. This case had been stayed pending the outcome of previously filed lawsuits alleging defective wage statements and has now been resolved on a single plaintiff basis.
In February 2016, the Company was served in a putative collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act in Florida federal court. The case was resolved without any class being certified.
In October 2016, a former employee filed a PAGA representative action in California state court alleging the Company failed to provide California employees information concerning the amount of sick leave available to them. The case was dismissed with prejudice in December 2016.
Family Dollar Active Matters
In 2008, a complaint was filed alleging discriminatory practices with respect to the pay of Family Dollar's female store managers. Among other things, the plaintiffs seek recovery of back pay, monetary and punitive remedies, interest, attorneys' fees, and equitable relief. In June 2016, the United States District Court in North Carolina ordered that the case be continued for merits discovery. The court also certified the case as a class action of approximately 30,000 current and former female store managers employed as far back as July 2002. The court stated that it could modify its order or even decertify the action in the future as the case develops. The Company believes the class action cannot be certified under the principles of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and prevailing case law. Although the Company believes that insurance is available for this matter, potential losses may materially exceed policy coverages if plaintiffs substantially prevail. The Company disagrees with plaintiffs’ claims, does not believe the class should remain certified, and will vigorously defend itself in this matter.
In 2014, a putative class action was filed in a California Federal Court by a former employee alleging that the Company had a policy of requiring employee bag checks while the employees were not clocked in for work. As a result of those actions, the employee alleges the Company violated California law by failing to provide meal periods and rest breaks, failing to pay regular and overtime wages for work performed off the clock, failing to provide accurate wage statements, failing to timely pay all final wages and by engaging in unfair competition. He has also alleged PAGA claims. The former employee dismissed his individual claims after the court ruled that the claims were subject to arbitration. The court ruled that the PAGA claims may proceed.
In 2015, former employees filed a nationwide class action in federal court in Connecticut alleging the Company had violated ERISA by overcharging employees who purchased supplemental life insurance through a Company sponsored plan. In March 2016, the district court dismissed the lawsuit. Plaintiffs have appealed the dismissal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
In January 2017, a customer filed a class action in federal court in Illinois alleging the Company violated various state consumer fraud laws as well as express and implied warranties by selling a product that purported to contain aloe vera when it did not. The requested class is limited to the state of Illinois. The Company believes that it is fully indemnified by the entities that supplied it with the product.
Family Dollar Resolved Matters
In 2008, a Multi-District Litigation forum ("MDL") was created in North Carolina federal court to handle cases alleging FLSA violations against the Company. In the first two cases, the court entered orders finding the plaintiffs were not similarly situated and, therefore, neither nationwide notice nor collective treatment under the FLSA was appropriate. Since that time, the court has granted 60 summary judgments ruling Store Managers are properly classified as exempt from overtime. The remaining plaintiffs have now signed an agreement with the Company to settle all remaining cases. The settlement agreements have been approved by the courts handling the cases and all settlement monies have been fully paid.
In 2013, plaintiffs filed a claim in Massachusetts seeking unpaid overtime for a class of current and former Massachusetts Store Managers whom plaintiffs claim are not properly classified as exempt from overtime under Massachusetts law. The plaintiffs have signed an agreement with the Company to settle the class action. The court approved the settlement and the settlement amount has been paid.
In 2014, the Company was served with a putative class action in Missouri Federal Court alleging the Company sent customers Short Message Service ("SMS") text message advertisements, without providing appropriate express written consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiff signed an agreement with the Company to settle the class action. The court approved the settlement and the settlement amount has been paid.
In 2014, a former employee filed a nationwide class action in federal court in Virginia alleging the Company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to comply with its requirements to give an individual proper notice and a reasonable time to challenge the results of a background check before taking action to deny the person employment (or terminate existing employment). The plaintiffs were seeking statutory damages of $100 to $1,000 per violation. The district court granted the Company’s motion for summary judgment in July 2016 without any liability to the Company. Plaintiffs did not appeal and this case is now resolved.
In 2014, a former employee brought a putative class action and asserted claims under PAGA alleging the Company failed to provide suitable seating to its California store employees. The court dismissed the case in December 2016 and the former employee did not appeal the decision.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef