|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
The Company's material legal proceedings are described below. The Company believes that it has valid defenses to these legal proceedings and intends to defend them vigorously. NRG records reserves for estimated losses from contingencies when information available indicates that a loss is probable and the amount of the loss, or range of loss, can be reasonably estimated. In addition, legal costs are expensed as incurred. Management has assessed each of the following matters based on current information and made a judgment concerning its potential outcome, considering the nature of the claim, the amount and nature of damages sought, and the probability of success. Unless specified below, the Company is unable to predict the outcome of these legal proceedings or reasonably estimate the scope or amount of any associated costs and potential liabilities. As additional information becomes available, management adjusts its assessment and estimates of such contingencies accordingly. Because litigation is subject to inherent uncertainties and unfavorable rulings or developments, it is possible that the ultimate resolution of the Company's liabilities and contingencies could be at amounts that are different from its currently recorded reserves and that such difference could be material.
In addition to the legal proceedings noted below, NRG and its subsidiaries are party to other litigation or legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. In management's opinion, the disposition of these ordinary course matters will not materially adversely affect NRG's consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.
Midwest Generation Asbestos Liabilities — The Company, through its subsidiary, Midwest Generation, may be subject to potential asbestos liabilities as a result of its acquisition of EME. The Company is currently analyzing the scope of potential liability as it may relate to Midwest Generation. The Company believes that it has established an adequate reserve for these cases.
Actions Pursued by MC Asset Recovery — With Mirant Corporation's emergence from bankruptcy protection in 2006, certain actions filed by GenOn Energy Holdings and some of its subsidiaries against third parties were transferred to MC Asset Recovery, a wholly owned subsidiary of GenOn Energy Holdings. MC Asset Recovery is governed by a manager who is independent of NRG and GenOn. MC Asset Recovery is a disregarded entity for income tax purposes. Under the remaining action transferred to MC Asset Recovery, MC Asset Recovery seeks to recover damages from Commerzbank AG and various other banks, or the Commerzbank Defendants, for alleged fraudulent transfers that occurred prior to Mirant's bankruptcy proceedings. In December 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed MC Asset Recovery's complaint against the Commerzbank Defendants. In January 2011, MC Asset Recovery appealed the District Court's dismissal of its complaint against the Commerzbank Defendants to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In March 2012, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's dismissal and reinstated MC Asset Recovery's amended complaint against the Commerzbank Defendants. On December 10, 2015, the District Court granted the Commerzbank Defendants' motion for summary judgment. On December 29, 2015, MC Asset Recovery filed a notice to appeal this ruling. If MC Asset Recovery succeeds in obtaining any recoveries from the Commerzbank Defendants, the Commerzbank Defendants have asserted that they will seek to file claims in Mirant's bankruptcy proceedings for the amount of those recoveries. GenOn Energy Holdings would vigorously contest the allowance of any such claims. If the Commerzbank Defendants were to receive an allowed claim as a result of a recovery by MC Asset Recovery on its claims against them, GenOn Energy Holdings would retain from the net amount recovered by MC Asset Recovery an amount equal to the dollar amount of the resulting allowed claim.
Natural Gas Litigation — GenOn is party to several lawsuits, certain of which are class action lawsuits, in state and federal courts in Kansas, Missouri, Nevada and Wisconsin. These lawsuits were filed in the aftermath of the California energy crisis in 2000 and 2001 and the resulting FERC investigations and relate to alleged conduct to increase natural gas prices in violation of state antitrust law and similar laws. The lawsuits seek treble or punitive damages, restitution and/or expenses. The lawsuits also name as parties a number of energy companies unaffiliated with NRG. In July 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, which was handling four of the five cases, granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims against GenOn in those cases. The plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which reversed the decision of the District Court. GenOn along with the other defendants in the lawsuit filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Court of Appeals' decision and the Supreme Court granted the petition. On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s holding that plaintiffs’ state antitrust law claims are not field-preempted by the federal Natural Gas Act and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court left open whether the claims were preempted on the basis of conflict preemption. The U.S. Supreme Court directed that the case be remanded to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. The case is proceeding in that court. GenOn has agreed to indemnify CenterPoint against certain losses relating to these lawsuits.
In September 2012, the State of Nevada Supreme Court, which was handling the remaining case, affirmed dismissal by the Eighth Judicial District Court for Clark County, Nevada of all plaintiffs' claims against GenOn. In February 2013, the plaintiffs in the Nevada case filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 2013, the Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of certiorari, thereby ending one of the five lawsuits.