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New evolving ESOP case raises familiar valuation-related issues

A new ESOP litigation is underway in federal district court related to a 2011 transaction in which the majority owner of the company sold his remaining stock to the company’s ESOP.

DOL and Professional Fiduciary Services settle ESOP suit

The DOL recently settled a suit against Professional Fiduciary Services (PFS) related to a 2012 transaction in which PFS served as trustee in an ESOP acquisition of outstanding company stock.

ESOP valuation FAQ guide is in the works at the AICPA

A new AICPA FAQ guide is being prepared on ESOP valuations, say Natalya Abdrasilova (Wipfli LLP) and Steven L. York (Stern Brothers Valuation Advisors), who spoke at the recent AICPA FVS Conference.

Vinoskey reply brief refutes DOL’s stock value and control claims

Argument continues in the contentious Vinoskey ESOP litigation, which is now in the 4th Circuit where the remaining defendant, Adam Vinoskey, has appealed the district court’s liability and damages findings.

DOL appellate brief pushes back in Vinoskey ESOP litigation

Neither side is letting up in the contentious Vinoskey ESOP litigation that has now moved to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

ESOPs: good for employees but facing an uncertain future

A recent article in the New York Times extols the virtues of employee ownership through employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). And trade groups for employee-owned businesses have noted bipartisan Congressional support for ESOPs. But ESOP experts (trustees and appraisers) worry that the Department of Labor’s antagonistic attitude toward ESOP transactions, validated by key victories in court, has stymied ESOP formation.

ESOPs: good for employees but facing an uncertain future

A recent article in the New York Times extols the virtues of employee ownership through employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

Lysengen v. Argent Trust Co.

ESOP plaintiff’s proposed class action against trustee and selling shareholders survives motion to dismiss; court says complaint gave enough facts to support claims of overpayment and breach of fiduciary duty; defendant must show disputed transaction falls into adequate consideration exemption.

ESOP Plaintiff’s Proposed Class Action Alleging Overpayment Survives Motion to Dismiss

ESOP plaintiff’s proposed class action against trustee and selling shareholders survives motion to dismiss; court says complaint gave enough facts to support claims of overpayment and breach of fiduciary duty; defendant must show disputed transaction falls into adequate consideration exemption.

ASA, supporting Vinoskey ESOP appeal, aims to correct BV ‘misstatements’

The ASA recently filed an amicus brief in support of the Vinoskey appeal, in which it claims the district court, in ruling against the ESOP trustee and the owner and selling shareholder, Adam Vinoskey, made numerous valuation-related misstatements that required correction.

Defendant in Vinoskey ESOP case files appeal with 4th Circuit

In the contentious Vinoskey ESOP case, one of the defendants, the owner and selling shareholder, Adam Vinoskey, recently appealed the district court’s finding that he was liable for knowingly participating in the trustee defendant’s ERISA violations and was a co-fiduciary for the trustee’s breaches of fiduciary duties.

RVNB class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty by ESOP trustee hurtles toward final settlement

ESOP litigation watchers can add one more case to the number of actions that recently have been resolved.

Plaintiffs in Rainbow ESOP class action ready to settle case

Last week, we reported on the resolution of two major ESOP litigations.

ESOP litigants play by their own valuation rules, speakers say

Imagine if you were playing on a baseball team and the opposing players argue that you are violating the rules of soccer.

Appeal in Lee ESOP case dismissed; ESOP class action also close to resolution

The last few weeks have seen the end of two ESOP litigations that have drawn a lot of attention from the ESOP community.

Court Finds ESOP Trustee’s Insurance Excludes Coverage for Defense Against DOL’s ERISA Claims

In bifurcated ESOP litigation centering on ERISA violations, court finds trustee defendants’ professional liability policy expressly excluded coverage for ERISA claims; under language of policy, insurer is not required to defend or indemnify trustee defendants fighting DOL’s ERISA allegations.

Gemini Ins. Co. v. Potts

In bifurcated ESOP litigation centering on ERISA violations, court finds trustee defendants’ professional liability policy expressly excluded coverage for ERISA claims; under language of policy, insurer is not required to defend or indemnify trustee defendants fighting DOL’s ERISA allegations.

Class-Action Litigation Involving ERISA/ESOP Valuation Issues

Join James F. Joyner and attorney Richard Pearl for unique insight into ESOPs and valuation principles. The general trend in ESOP transactions and valuation has been to acquiesce to fundamental changes because of the threat of litigation, even though ERISA or valuation principles do not require changes. Many defendants have been unable to adequately educate courts on some key issues. Get both the valuation and attorney perspective on how to address these issues.

ESOP Case Appeal Stokes Controversy Over DOL Valuations

A series of court cases have generated controversy over the tactics and valuation methods the Department of Labor (DOL) has been using, including claims that the DOL has improperly redefined the term “fair market value,” does not follow generally accepted valuation principles nor standards, and continually uses an expert the valuation community deems “unqualified.”

NCEO amicus brief supporting dismissal of case details benefits from ESOP participation

The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) also filed an amicus brief in which it supports the dismissal of the Lee case that is currently on appeal with the 4th Circuit.

ASA files amicus brief in Lee case, discussing FMV concerns in ESOP litigation

Responding to the appeal in the Lee case, the American Society of Appraisers recently filed an amicus brief supporting the dismissal of the case.

ESOP trustee defends dismissal of lawsuit and rejects comparison to Brundle

In response to the plaintiff’s appeal in the Lee ESOP case, the defendant trustee said the district court’s dismissal of the case for lack of standing was appropriate.

Willamette’s spring 2020 Insights focuses on ESOP valuations

The spring 2020 Insights from Willamette Management Associates focuses on ESOP employer stock valuations and contains a number of articles, such as “Employee Stock Ownership Plan Financial Feasibility Analysis: Financial Considerations for Shareholders” (Robert F. Reilly), “Valuation Treatment of the Repurchase Obligation Liability” (Kyle J. Wishing), “The Fiduciary Process for the Annual Update of the ESOP Share Value” (Frank “Chip” Brown), “Pizzella v. Vinoskey: A Costly Lesson to Learn” (Lisa H. Tran), and more.

Pension Rights Center files amicus brief in support of ESOP plaintiff

A nonprofit consumer organization whose mission is “to protect and promote the retirement security of American workers, retirees, and their families” recently filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the appeal the plaintiff in Lee filed with the 4th Circuit (see above).

DOL announces big ESOP settlement with Wilmington Trust

In yet another ESOP development, the Secretary of Labor recently announced that it reached a settlement with Wilmington Trust NA, an international financial services firm with expertise in serving as trustee in major ESOP transactions.

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