The outcome of all of our regulatory matters, litigations and other legal proceedings (including putative class actions) is uncertain, and it is possible that adverse results in such proceedings (which could include restitution, penalties, punitive damages and injunctive relief affecting our business practices) and the terms of any settlements of such proceedings could, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, prospects, results of operations, liquidity or financial condition. In addition, governmental and regulatory agency examinations, inquiries and investigations may result in the commencement of lawsuits or other proceedings against us or our personnel. Although we have historically been able to resolve the preponderance of our ordinary course litigations on terms we considered acceptable and individually not material, this pattern may not continue and, in any event, individual cases could have unexpected materially adverse outcomes, requiring payments or other expenses in excess of amounts already accrued. Certain of the litigations against us include claims for substantial compensatory, punitive and/or statutory damages, and in many cases the claims involve indeterminate damages. In some cases, including in some putative class actions, there could be fines or other damages for each separate instance in which a violation occurred. Certification of a class, particularly in such cases, could substantially increase our exposure to damages. We cannot predict whether or how any legal proceeding will affect our business relationship with actual or potential customers, our creditors, rating agencies and others. In addition, cooperating in, defending and resolving these legal proceedings consume significant amounts of management time and attention and could cause us to incur substantial legal, consulting and other expenses and to change our business practices, even in cases where there is no determination that our conduct failed to meet applicable legal or regulatory requirements.
For a description of certain legal proceedings, refer to Note 29 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in this report, which is incorporated by reference herein.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES