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Note 13: Contingent Liabilities
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2011
Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Note 13: Contingent Liabilities

Note 13: Contingent Liabilities


Summarized below are the matters previously described in Note 17 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in our 2010 Annual Report, incorporated by reference in our 2010 Form 10-K, updated as applicable.


Environmental. Our operations are subject to environmental regulation by federal, state and local authorities in the United States and regulatory authorities with jurisdiction over our foreign operations. We accrue for the costs of environmental investigatory, remediation, operating and maintenance costs when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount can be reasonably estimated. The most likely cost to be incurred is accrued based on an evaluation of currently available facts with respect to each individual site, including existing technology, current laws and regulations and prior remediation experience. Where no amount within a range of estimates is more likely, we accrue the minimum. For sites with multiple responsible parties, we consider our likely proportionate share of the anticipated remediation costs and the ability of the other parties to fulfill their obligations in establishing a provision for those costs. We discount liabilities with fixed or reliably determinable future cash payments. We do not reduce accrued environmental liabilities by potential insurance reimbursements. We periodically reassess these accrued amounts. We believe that the likelihood of incurring losses materially in excess of amounts accrued is remote.


Government. We are now, and believe that in light of the current U.S. government contracting environment we will continue to be, the subject of one or more U.S. government investigations. If we or one of our business units were charged with wrongdoing as a result of any of these investigations or other government investigations (including violations of certain environmental or export laws) the U.S. government could suspend us from bidding on or receiving awards of new U.S. government contracts pending the completion of legal proceedings. If convicted or found liable, the U.S. government could fine and debar us from new U.S. government contracting for a period generally not to exceed three years. The U.S. government could void any contracts found to be tainted by fraud.


Our contracts with the U.S. government are also subject to audits. Like many defense contractors, we have received audit reports, which recommend that certain contract prices should be reduced to comply with various government regulations. Some of these audit reports involve substantial amounts. We have made voluntary refunds in those cases we believe appropriate and continue to litigate certain other cases. In addition, we accrue for liabilities associated with those matters that are probable and can be reasonably estimated. The most likely settlement amount to be incurred is accrued based upon a range of estimates. Where no amount within a range of estimates is more likely, then we accrue the minimum amount.


As previously disclosed, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued us in 1999 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, claiming that Pratt & Whitney violated the civil False Claims Act and common law. This lawsuit relates to the “Fighter Engine Competition” between Pratt & Whitney's F100 engine and General Electric's F110 engine. The DOJ alleges that the government overpaid for F100 engines under contracts awarded by the U.S. Air Force in fiscal years 1985 through 1990 because Pratt & Whitney inflated its estimated costs for some purchased parts and withheld data that would have revealed the overstatements. At trial of this matter, completed in December 2004, the government claimed Pratt & Whitney's liability to be $624 million.  On August 1, 2008, the trial court judge held that the Air Force had not suffered any actual damages because Pratt & Whitney had made significant price concessions.  However, the trial court judge found that Pratt & Whitney violated the False Claims Act due to inaccurate statements contained in the 1983 offer. In the absence of actual damages, the trial court judge awarded the DOJ the maximum civil penalty of $7.09 million, or $10,000 for each of the 709 invoices Pratt & Whitney submitted in 1989 and later under the contracts.  In September 2008, both the DOJ and UTC appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In November 2010, the Sixth Circuit affirmed Pratt & Whitney's liability under the False Claims Act and remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings on the question of damages. Should the government ultimately prevail, the outcome of this matter could result in a material effect on our results of operations in the period in which a liability would be recognized or cash flows for the period in which damages would be paid.


As previously disclosed, in December 2008, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a contract claim against Sikorsky to recover overpayments the DOD alleges it has incurred since January 2003 in connection with cost accounting changes approved by the DOD and implemented by Sikorsky in 1999 and 2006. These changes relate to the calculation of material overhead rates in government contracts. The DOD claims that Sikorsky's liability is approximately $89 million (including interest through June 2011). We believe this claim is without merit and Sikorsky filed an appeal in December 2009 with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which is pending.


Other. As previously disclosed, on August 27, 2010, Rolls-Royce plc (Rolls-Royce) sued Pratt & Whitney in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging that fan blades on certain engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney infringe a U.S. patent held by Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce sought damages plus interest, an injunction, attorney's fees, and a finding of willful infringement. On May 20, 2011, the Court granted Pratt & Whitney's motion for summary judgment of non-infringement and denied Rolls-Royce's cross motion in which it alleged Pratt & Whitney had infringed the patent. Further, as previously disclosed, in November 2010, Pratt & Whitney filed complaints against Rolls-Royce in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Patent Court (HCJ) in the United Kingdom (UK), with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), and against Rolls-Royce and its parent, Rolls-Royce Group plc (Rolls-Royce Group) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The HCJ action alleged that certain turbomachinery blades, engines and components manufactured by Rolls-Royce infringe a UK patent held by Pratt & Whitney and sought damages plus interest and all other relief to which Pratt & Whitney is entitled, including attorney's fees, expenses, and a permanent order preventing further infringements. The ITC complaint sought a permanent exclusion order barring the importation into the U.S. of infringing turbomachinery blades, engines and engine components manufactured by Rolls-Royce and Rolls-Royce Group, and requested a permanent cease-and-desist order against Rolls-Royce and Rolls-Royce Group preventing further importing, marketing, advertising, demonstrating, testing, distributing, licensing, offering for sale, or use of such infringing turbomachinery blades, engines and engine components. In the Connecticut District Court action, Pratt & Whitney alleged similar infringement claims based on a U.S. patent held by Pratt & Whitney and sought an injunction, damages, interest, attorney's fees and other relief. On July 14, 2011, the parties entered into an amicable, confidential settlement agreement to dismiss all of the foregoing matters, resulting in no adverse impact to UTC.


We extend performance and operating cost guarantees beyond our normal warranty and service policies for extended periods on some of our products. We have accrued our estimate of the liability that may result under these guarantees and for service costs that are probable and can be reasonably estimated.


We have accrued for environmental investigatory, remediation, operating and maintenance costs, performance guarantees and other litigation and claims based on our estimate of the probable outcome of these matters. While it is possible that the outcome of these matters may differ from the recorded liability, we believe that resolution of these matters will not have a material impact on our competitive position, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.


We also have other commitments and contingent liabilities related to legal proceedings, self-insurance programs and matters arising out of the normal course of business. We accrue contingencies based upon a range of possible outcomes. If no amount within this range is a better estimate than any other, then we accrue the minimum amount.


We are also subject to a number of routine lawsuits, investigations and claims (some of which involve substantial amounts) arising out of the ordinary course of our business. We do not believe that these matters will have a material adverse effect upon our competitive position, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.


Except as otherwise noted above, we do not believe that resolution of any of these matters will have a material adverse effect upon our competitive position, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition. All forward-looking statements concerning the possible or anticipated outcome of environmental, investigatory and litigation matters involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. For further information as to these risks and uncertainties, see “Cautionary Note Concerning Factors That May Affect Future Results” and Part II, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” in this Form 10-Q.