News Tag: trustee


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 >>

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 >>

Management projections take center stage in bankruptcy case

In a complex bankruptcy case involving players in the petrochemical industry, the court trained its eyes on the management projections underlying a merger that led to the formation of a company that went bankrupt only a year after the close of the transaction. Read more >>

Court adheres to earlier ESOP liability and damages rulings

In a controversial ESOP case that turned on the trustee’s oversight of the pretransaction valuation work, the defendant trustee recently filed a motion for reconsideration. It argued the court had committed errors related to its liability and damages findings. Although the court owned up to some mistakes, including a misunderstanding of the concept of beta, it ultimately stuck to its earlier decision. Read more >>

Another ESOP trustee in trouble over valuation

For the second time in March 2017, a court found an ESOP trustee liable for causing the plan to overpay. The most recent decision chronicles in exhaustive detail how the trustee failed the plan in terms of ensuring that no more than fair market value would be paid for the seller’s shares. Read more >>

5th Circuit backs district court's fair market value determination in ESOP dispute

The district court's determination of overpayment was a function of the contract price and the stock’s fair market value on each of three transaction dates. For its FMV determination, the court considered the testimony of three noted valuation experts retained by the plaintiffs, the DOL, and the defendants respectively. Different experts used different methods, different assumptions, different estimates, and they reached different conclusions. But they all used multiple approaches to produce several FMV estimates on the transaction dates. To arrive at a final value determination, or range of values, they all averaged or weighted the results. Read more >>

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