|MEDTRONIC PLC filed this Form 10-Q on 09/01/2017|
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
The supplemental equity schedule below presents changes in the Company's noncontrolling interests and total shareholders' equity for the three months ended July 28, 2017.
16. Commitments and Contingencies
The Company and its affiliates are involved in a number of legal actions involving product liability, intellectual property disputes, shareholder related matters, environmental proceedings, income tax disputes, and governmental proceedings and investigations, including those described below. With respect to governmental proceedings and investigations, like other companies in our industry, the Company is subject to extensive regulation by national, state and local governmental agencies in the United States and in other jurisdictions in which the Company and its affiliates operate. As a result, interaction with governmental agencies is ongoing. The Company’s standard practice is to cooperate with regulators and investigators in responding to inquiries. The outcomes of these legal actions are not within the Company’s complete control and may not be known for prolonged periods of time. In some actions, the enforcement agencies or private claimants seek damages, as well as other civil or criminal remedies (including injunctions barring the sale of products that are the subject of the proceeding), that could require significant expenditures, result in lost revenues, or limit the Company's ability to conduct business in the applicable jurisdictions. The Company records a liability in the consolidated financial statements on an undiscounted basis for loss contingencies related to legal actions when a loss is known or considered probable and the amount may be reasonably estimated. If the reasonable estimate of a known or probable loss is a range, and no amount within the range is a better estimate than any other, the minimum amount of the range is accrued. If a loss is reasonably possible but not known or probable, and may be reasonably estimated, the estimated loss or range of loss is disclosed. When determining the estimated loss or range of loss, significant judgment is required. Estimates of probable losses resulting from litigation and governmental proceedings involving the Company are inherently difficult to predict, particularly when the matters are in early procedural stages, with incomplete scientific facts or legal discovery, involve unsubstantiated or indeterminate claims for damages, potentially involve penalties, fines or punitive damages, or could result in a change in business practice. At July 28, 2017 and April 28, 2017, accrued certain litigation charges were approximately $1.0 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. The ultimate cost to the Company with respect to accrued certain litigation charges could be materially different than the amount of the current estimates and accruals and could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s consolidated earnings, financial position, and/or cash flows. The Company includes accrued certain litigation charges in other accrued expenses and other liabilities on the consolidated balance sheets.
In addition to litigation contingencies, the Company also has certain income tax and guarantee obligations that may potentially result in future charges. While it is not possible to predict the outcome for most of the matters discussed below, the Company believes it is possible that charges associated with these matters could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s consolidated earnings, financial position, and/or cash flows.
Product Liability Matters
In 2007, a putative class action was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Canada seeking damages for personal injuries allegedly related to the Company's Sprint Fidelis family of defibrillation leads. On October 20, 2009, the court certified a class proceeding but denied class certification on plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages. Pretrial proceedings are underway. The Company has not recognized an expense related to damages in connection with this matter because any potential loss is not currently probable or reasonably estimable under U.S. GAAP. Additionally, the Company is unable to reasonably estimate the range of loss, if any, that may result from this matter.