Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and contingencies

v3.20.1
Commitments and contingencies
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2020
Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]  
Commitments and contingencies

Note 10. Commitments and Contingencies

 

Commitments:

 

Oklahoma Lease Agreement.

 

On January 8, 2020, Kairos entered into a third amendment to the OKC Lease to extend the lease term through May 15, 2020, with all other terms remaining substantially the same as the second amendment to the OKC Lease.

 

On April 10, 2020, Kairos entered into a fourth amendment to the OKC Lease to extend the lease term through June 30, 2020, with all other terms remaining substantially the same as the second amendment to the OKC Lease.

 

Corporate Lease Agreement

 

On April 9, 2018, the Company entered into a commercial lease agreement (the “Florida Lease”) with W-Crocker Fin Place Owner VII, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, pursuant to which the Company leases approximately 1,700 rentable square feet of office and common area space in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pursuant to the terms of the Florida Lease, the initial term is for thirty-nine (39) months expiring on August 9, 2021, with one, five-year option to renew. The initial base rent is $4,658.50 per month (or $2.75 per sq. ft.) for the first year and escalates at the rate of 3.0% per annum thereafter. Additionally, common operating expenses are prorated and charged monthly as additional rent.

 

As of March 31, 2020, the Company vacated the office space related to its Florida lease, and fully expensed the estimated termination expenses of the lease obligation.

 

Operating Leases

 

At March 31, 2020, the Company had operating lease liabilities of approximately $0.3 million and right of use assets of approximately $0.4 million, which are included in the condensed interim consolidated balance sheet.

 

The following summarizes quantitative information about the Company’s operating leases (dollars in thousands):

 

Lease cost   Three Months Ended March 31, 2020
Operating lease cost   $ 657  
Variable lease cost     653  
Operating lease expense     1,310  
Short-term lease rent expense     5  
Total rent expense   $ 1,315  
         
Other information        
Operating cash flows from operating leases   $ 584  
Right of use assets exchanged for new operating lease liabilities   $ 558  
Weighted-average remaining lease term – operating leases     0.4 years  
Weighted-average discount rate – operating leases     10.00 %

 

Maturities of the Company’s operating lease liabilities, are as follows (unaudited) (in thousands):

 

For the nine months ended December 31, 2020   $ 329  
For the year ended December 31, 2021     35  
Total   $ 364  
Less present value discount     (9 )
Operating lease liabilities   $ 356  

 

Rent expense including electric power costs, recorded on a straight-line basis, was approximately $1.3 million and $1.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

Contingencies:

 

The Company, and its subsidiaries, are subject at times to various claims, lawsuits and governmental proceedings relating to the Company’s business and transactions arising in the ordinary course of business. The Company cannot predict the final outcome of such proceedings. Where appropriate, the Company vigorously defends such claims, lawsuits and proceedings. Some of these claims, lawsuits and proceedings seek damages, including, consequential, exemplary or punitive damages, in amounts that could, if awarded, be significant. Certain of the claims, lawsuits and proceedings arising in ordinary course of business are covered by the Company’s insurance program. The Company maintains property and various types of liability insurance in an effort to protect the Company from such claims. In terms of any matters where there is no insurance coverage available to the Company, or where coverage is available and the Company maintains a retention or deductible associated with such insurance, the Company may establish an accrual for such loss, retention or deductible based on current available information. In accordance with accounting guidance, if it is probable that an asset has been impaired or a liability has been incurred as of the date of the financial statements, and the amount of loss is reasonably estimable, then an accrual for the cost to resolve or settle these claims is recorded by the Company in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. If it is reasonably possible that an asset may be impaired as of the date of the financial statement, then the Company discloses the range of possible loss. Expenses related to the defense of such claims are recorded by the Company as incurred and included in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations. Management, with the assistance of outside counsel, may from time to time adjust such accruals according to new developments in the matter, court rulings, or changes in the strategy affecting the Company’s defense of such matters. On the basis of current information, the Company does not believe there is a reasonable possibility that, other than with regard to the Class Action described below, any material loss, if any, will result from any claims, lawsuits and proceedings to which the Company is subject to either individually, or in the aggregate.

 

Shareholder Class Action Suit

 

On February 17, 2018, Creighton Takata filed an action asserting putative class action claims on behalf of the Company's stockholders in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey, Takata v. Riot Blockchain Inc., et al., Case No. 3: 18-cv-02293. The complaint asserts violations of federal securities laws under Section 10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on behalf of a putative class of stockholders that purchased stock from November 13, 2017 through February 15, 2018. The complaint alleges that the Company and certain of its officers and directors made, caused to be made, or failed to correct false and/or misleading statements in press releases and public filings regarding its business plan in connection with its cryptocurrency business. The complaint requests damages in unspecified amounts, costs and fees of bringing the action, and other unspecified relief.

On April 18, 2018, Joseph J. Klapper, Jr., filed a complaint against Riot Blockchain, Inc., and certain of its officers and directors in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey (Klapper v. Riot Blockchain Inc., et al., Case No. 3: 18-cv-8031). The complaint contained substantially similar allegations and the same claims as those filed by Mr. Takata, and requests damages in unspecified amounts, costs and fees of bringing the action, and other unspecified relief. On November 6, 2018, the court in the Takata action issued an order consolidating Takata with Klapper into a single putative class action. The court also appointed Dr. Golovac as Lead Plaintiff and Motely Rice as Lead Counsel of the consolidated class action.

 

Lead Plaintiff filed a consolidated complaint on January 15, 2019.  Defendants filed motions to dismiss on March 18, 2019. In lieu of opposing defendants’ motions to dismiss, Lead Plaintiff filed another amended complaint on May 9, 2019. Defendants filed multiple motions to dismiss the amended complaint starting on September 3, 2019.

On April 30, 2020, the court granted the motions to dismiss, which resulted in the dismissal of all claims without prejudice.  If Lead Plaintiff seeks to file another amended complaint, defendants intend to continue to vigorously contest Lead Plaintiff’s amended allegations. Because this litigation is still at this early stage, we cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

Shareholder Derivative Cases

 

On April 5, 2018, Michael Jackson filed a shareholder derivative complaint on behalf of the Company in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau, against certain of the Company's officers and directors, as well as against an investor (Jackson v. Riot Blockchain, Inc., et al., Case No. 604520/18). The complaint contains similar allegations to those contained in the shareholder class action complaints and seeks recovery for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, waste of corporate assets, abuse of control and gross mismanagement. The complaint seeks unspecified monetary damages and corporate governance changes. At the last preliminary conference, the court adjourned the conference until June 23, 2020 in lieu of staying the action.  Defendants do not anticipate any other activity on this case until the next preliminary conference.

 

On May 22, 2018, two additional shareholder derivative complaints were filed on behalf of the Company in the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Clark (Kish v. O'Rourke, et al., Case No. A-18-774890-B & Gaft v. O'Rourke, et al., Case No. A-18-774896-8). The two complaints make identical allegations, which are similar to the allegations contained in the shareholder class action complaints. The shareholder derivative plaintiffs also seek recovery for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, waste of corporate assets, and aiding abetting a breach of fiduciary duty. The complaints seek unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes.

 

On September 24, 2018, the court entered an order consolidating the Gaft and Kish actions, which is now styled as In re Riot BlockChain, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Case No. A-18-774890-B. The plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint on March 15, 2019.  The consolidated action has been temporarily stayed until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

 

On October 9, 2018, another shareholder derivative complaint was filed on behalf of the Company in the United District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Rotkowitz v. O'Rourke, et al., Case No. 2:18-cv-05632). As with the other shareholder derivative actions, the shareholder plaintiff alleges breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, and unjust enrichment against certain of the Company's officers, directors, and an investor. The complaint's allegations are substantially similar to those made in the other securities class action and shareholder derivative complaints filed in 2018. The complaint seeks unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes. The parties filed a motion with the court to temporarily stay this action until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey. In response, the court dismissed the action without prejudice with leave to refile a complaint following the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

 

On October 22, 2018, a fifth shareholder derivative complaint was filed on behalf of the Company in the United District Court for the Southern District of New York (Finitz v. O'Rourke, et al., Case No. 1: 18-cv-09640). The shareholder plaintiffs allege breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, and unjust enrichment against certain of the Company's officers, directors, and an investor. The complaint's allegations are substantially similar to those made in the other securities class action and shareholder derivative complaints filed in 2018. The complaint seeks unspecific monetary damages and corporate governance changes. Upon the parties' stipulation, the court issued an order temporarily staying this action until the resolution of the motion(s) to dismiss in the securities class action pending in the United District Court for the District of New Jersey.

 

Defendants intend to vigorously contest plaintiffs’ allegations in the shareholder derivative actions and plaintiffs’ right to bring the action in the name of Riot Blockchain.  But because this litigation is still at this early stage, we cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

 

Indemnification Demands

 

On April 3, 2020, a complaint was filed against Riot Blockchain, Inc. (“Riot”) by Barry C. Honig and GRQ Consultants, Inc. (“GRQ”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Honig v. Riot Blockchain, Inc., Case No. 20-cv-02808-NRB.  Mr. Honig and GRQ allege that Riot has failed to indemnify them pursuant to terms of the Securities Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) and Registration Rights Agreement (“RRA”), both dated March 16, 2017.  Mr. Honig and GRQ allege declaratory judgment and breach of contract claims, seeking fees and expenses they incurred in connection with litigation and a SEC investigation involving Riot. 

 

In addition to the suit filed by Mr. Honig and GRQ, other purported parties and beneficiaries of the SPA and RRA have also recently demanded indemnification from Riot related to the same litigation and SEC investigation.  Riot believes that it does not owe an indemnification obligation to Mr. Honig, GRQ, or the other purported parties and beneficiaries of the SPA and RRA that have made an indemnification demand.  Riot intends to vigorously contest Mr. Honig and GRQ claims, as well as the other demands for indemnification.  Nevertheless, since this litigation and demands for indemnification are still in an early stage, we cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

 

Kashwise Demand

 

On February 18, 2020, the Company received a demand letter (the “Kashwise Demand”) on behalf of Kashwise Global Funding, Inc. (“Kashwise”). The Company timely responded to the Kashwise Demand; however, on April 13, 2020, Kashwise filed suit against the Company in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida (the “Kashwise Suit”) alleging substantially the same claims as in the Kashwise Demand. The Company has removed the Kashwise Suit to Federal District Court in and for the Southern District of Florida. The Company intends to vigorously dispute Kashwise’s allegations; however, because this litigation is still at this early stage, we cannot reasonably estimate the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome or the magnitude of such an outcome, if any.

 

SEC Subpoena and Other Matters

 

SEC Subpoena

 

On April 9, 2018, the Company received a subpoena from the SEC, requesting documents and information. The Company fully cooperated with the SEC in that investigation. On January 29, 2020, the SEC notified the Company that it had concluded its investigation as to Riot and based on the information the SEC had as of the date of the letter, it does not intend to recommend an enforcement action against Riot.

 

Beneficial Ownership

 

Pursuant to the rules of the SEC, the Company has consistently reported its beneficial ownership positions in its proxy and other filings where beneficial ownership disclosures are presented, for certain beneficial owners with respect to any person (including any “group” as that term is used in Section 13(d)(3) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) who is known to the Company to be the beneficial owner of more than 5% of the Company’s common stock.  The Company has relied on each person who has reported to the SEC beneficial ownership of more than 5% of our common stock to provide complete and accurate information regarding their ownership, based on the reports filed by these persons.

 

On September 7, 2018, a complaint was filed by the SEC (Case 1:18-cv-08175) and as subsequently amended, (the “Complaint”) against, among others, a number of individuals and entities some of whom the Company has previously disclosed as its beneficial owners, as well as, Mr. John O’Rourke III, the Company’s former chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer who resigned from the Company on September 8, 2018, as disclosed in the Current Periodic Report on Form 8-K filed September 10, 2018.  Other persons named in the Complaint have previously reported that they were beneficial owners of the Company’s common stock, however, the Company has no basis to determine whether any such persons may have operated as a control group, collectively beneficially owning more than 5% of the Company’s common stock.