Business Valuation Law News


DOL urges court to uphold judgment against trustee in Brundle ESOP litigation

In the ongoing Brundle v. Wilmington Trust ESOP saga, which is now in the appeals stage, the Department of Labor recently filed an amicus brief in support of the district court’s $29.8 million judgment against the ESOP trustee. The case arose out of a plan participant’s claim that the ESOP trustee breached its fiduciary duties to the plan by causing the ESOP to pay more than fair market value for the employer’s stock. Read more >>

ASA squarely aligns itself with trustee and appraiser in Brundle ESOP litigation

One of the most controversial ESOP cases, Brundle v. Wilmington Trust, has now entered the appeals court phase. In 2017, the district court found that the trustee had caused the plan to overpay by $29.8 million by failing to scrutinize the financial advisor’s obviously flawed valuation analysis and value conclusions. The trustee and valuator had strong ESOP credentials. Read more >>

Delaware Chancery explains logic behind use of market price in Aruba case

After the petitioners in a statutory appraisal action recently lost big, they undertook a multifaceted assault on the Delaware Court of Chancery’s decision to use the unaffected market price as the indicator of value. Their motion for reargument went nowhere. Read more >>

Valuing goodwill in divorce: State-by-state breakdown of enterprise & professional goodwill jurisprudence

Appraisers working on divorce cases know that goodwill is a fundamental concept they have to master. What makes it challenging is that divorce is a state matter and that different states adhere to different rules as to how to treat goodwill. BVR is excited to offer legal and valuation professionals a handy reference guide that includes a state-by-state breakdown of goodwill jurisprudence Read more >>

Can a nonprofessional business have personal goodwill? Arkansas court explains

Arkansas is one of the many states that differentiate between enterprise goodwill and personal goodwill. The former is marital property and divisible at divorce; the latter is not. A question that has come up in recent years is whether the owner of a nonprofessional business can claim personal goodwill whose value is excludable from the marital estate. Read more >>

Three different court rulings on the use of discounts in the divorce context

Case law matters. Every month, BVLaw analyzes the most noteworthy court decisions dealing with valuation and damages issues. Subscribers should check out digests of three recent divorce rulings different state courts issued. All the cases dealt with the issue of whether it was appropriate to discount the owner-spouse’s interest in a closely held business. Read more >>

ESOP case alive (for now), but court limits damages testimony under Daubert

In a developing ESOP case, the government recently suffered a setback when the court agreed with the trustee that portions of the damages testimony the government’s expert proposed failed to hold up under the Daubert reliability prong. Read more >>

Tenn. Appeals Court says DLOM in divorce appropriate under facts of case

A recent Tennessee appeals court decision found that the trial court presiding over a drawn-out divorce had discretion to apply a marketability discount when it valued the owner-spouse’s interest in two companies in 2016. Read more >>

Court of Chancery disregards deal price where sales process is not ‘Dell compliant’

Recent rulings from the Delaware Supreme Court make it seem as if the discounted cash flow analysis has lost its top ranking among valuation methodologies in statutory appraisals involving publicly traded companies. Not exactly. Read more >>

Court of Chancery exalts stock price as most accurate indicator of fair value

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently had an opportunity to put into practice the directives the state’s high court had issued in DFC Global and Dell in terms of calculating fair value in a statutory appraisal proceeding. Read more >>

Michigan court explains treatment of S corp’s retained earnings in divorce

The overarching issue in a recent Michigan divorce case was appreciation. Did the nonowner spouse (wife) have a right to a portion of the increase in value of her husband’s separate property, an S corporation? A related issue, and one that posed a question of first impression in Michigan, was how to treat the company’s retained earnings. Read more >>

Court shows itself flexible on apportioning for royalty calculation

It’s written in stone that experts developing a reasonable royalty for a multicomponent product must be careful to apportion damages to the product’s protected features. However, there is flexibility in how experts perform the apportionment, the Federal Circuit recently confirmed. Read more >>

Lost profits case awaiting Supreme Court decision

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to review a patent infringement case on the scope of damages. The issue is whether a patent holder may obtain lost profits for actions that occurred outside the United States, where the patentee has proven a domestic act of infringement. Read more >>

BVLaw Case Update

Every month, BVLaw analyzes and digests federal and state court decisions (including opinions from the United States Tax Court) that focus on valuation and damages issues and feature expert testimony. A BVLaw subscription is an efficient way for financial experts to keep up with developments in their areas of expertise and with the various courts’ takes on valuation methodology, Daubert and the art of presentation, and policy concerns. Read more >>

Delaware Supreme Court balks at Court of Chancery’s Dell decision

Twice, in 2017, the Delaware Supreme Court struck down statutory appraisal rulings by the Delaware Court of Chancery that dismissed the importance of the market price. Read more >>

Don’t assume causation, AICPA panel warns damages experts

Causation presents one of the most vexing problems for damages experts. But ignoring causation and simply working off the assumption that it exists may end up being the biggest problem for an expert. Read more >>

Trial court’s IPO valuation in fair value proceeding holds up on appeal

A recent case shows just how difficult it is to value a startup. Here, there was an extra challenge because the subject was a pharmaceutical venture that required years of funding for the development of two drugs working toward FDA approval. The trial court needed to determine the fair value of the plaintiff’s interest prior to the company’s ultimate success. Read more >>

In unusual business tort case, court exhibits flexibility in terms of calculating damages

The 8th Circuit recently upheld a sizable damages award in an unusual business tort case litigated under Nebraska law. One noteworthy aspect in terms of determining economic damages was that the court allowed expert testimony regarding the loss of value to the plaintiff even though the plaintiff did not fail completely upon the wrongdoing. Read more >>

Federal Circuit drills down into Panduit, apportionment, and lost profits

The Federal Circuit recently examined a paramount damages issue that comes up in patent cases: whether, in terms of calculating lost profits, the patent holder’s ability to meet the Panduit factors makes a separate apportionment analysis unnecessary. Read more >>

Management forecasts receive close scrutiny from courts

In assessing the soundness of valuations, courts in a variety of cases have been paying close attention to the management projections appraisers have used or decided not to use in performing their value analyses. If courts are scrutinizing projections for reliability and plausibility, experts hoping to prevail in the litigation context must do so as well. Read more >>

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