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Guidance for valuators on Washington state double dip jurisprudence

Double dipping is a tricky issue because different states have developed different approaches to it. Valuators specializing in divorce issues must know the controlling case law in the state in which they practice. A recent decision by the Washington state Court of Appeals clarifies its state's analytical framework in a case featuring a successful management consulting business the husband had set up and grown during the marriage.

Chancery relies on income approach to determine fair value in problematic bank merger

In a statutory appraisal action, the Delaware Court of Chancery recently found the deal price did not reflect fair value because the sales process was suboptimal. Certain other methods the parties' experts used also were inadequate to the task, the court said.

Compromised Section 1031 appraisal sinks Exelon tax strategy for fossil fuel power plant sale

U.S. Tax Court Judge David Laro frequently has cautioned experts not to give in to hiring attorneys who want to shape the appraisal. Although federal and state discovery rules offer some protection for attorney-expert communication, there is a risk of exposure and with it a risk of damage to the expert’s work product and reputation. A recent Section 1031 case, which Judge Laro handled, illustrates what happens when the communication is discovered.

Chancery says bids in squeeze-out merger are not comparable

The Delaware Court of Chancery recently cut short a challenge to a going-private merger when it dismissed the plaintiffs' complaint. The plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued the defendants breached their fiduciary duties when they favored the controller's lower bid over a third-party bidder's higher offer.

AICPA Tips for Testifying Experts

Appraisers working on litigated disputes face special challenges. Several workshops at the recent AICPA conference in Nashville provided insights and survival tips that benefit both the seasoned financial expert witness and the upstart.

Flawed yardstick analysis sinks lost profits award

A drawn-out damages case in which a startup compression sportswear company sued the defendant "private label" manufacturer over an abandoned licensing deal promised to make the plaintiff rich but ultimately ended with nominal damages.

Defense expert testimony supports ESOP valuation and fairness opinions

A recent ESOP decision involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and engaging in a prohibited transaction turned on whether the ESOP trustee’s financial advisor had performed proper due diligence and issued defensible fairness and valuation analyses.

Valuation of key marital asset demands expert opinion

In a Mississippi divorce, the husband's sole-owned fitness training company was the key asset. An accurate valuation was central to achieving an equitable distribution of property, but the parties did not hire experts or even submit much financial information to the trial court.

Daubert tests reliability of testimony, not power of persuasion

The plaintiff, representing the debtor enterprises, sued executives of related family-run consumer lending and retail businesses that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over allegedly fraudulent transfers.

Challenge to new Section 2704 regulations is shaping up

The accounting, valuation, and legal professions are hard at work to defeat the Treasury Department's proposed Section 274 regulations. The new regs would curtail, if not entirely eliminate, valuation discounts in family-controlled entities.

Chancery achieves fair value with three imperfect valuation techniques

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps Chancellor Bouchard thought of Aristotle when he recently ruled in a statutory appraisal action that, even though the results of three common valuation techniques were unreliable indicators of value, in combination they established fair value.

Tax Court revaluation means big-time savings for taxpayer

In an estate tax dispute that has lasted for over five years, the Tax Court recently revalued the decedent’s minority interest in an Oregon family business by order of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The recalculation proved a boon to the taxpayer.

Delaware Supreme Court Judge Boos Chancery's Option Valuation Case Analysis

In reviewing one of the Delaware Court of Chancery's most noteworthy rulings from 2015, one judge on the state Supreme Court wrote a stinging critique of the trial court's analysis.

How else to look at the 'Gawker' case: It's about unjust enrichment

It's not your average lost profits or lost business opportunity case. Rather, Hogan's damages experts were successful in quantifying damages under the less-common unjust enrichment theory. Rather than focusing on the damages to Hogan, the plaintiff, stemming from Gawker's misconduct, the experts calculated the gain to Gawker, the defendant, from the misuse of Hogan's assets, that is, his brand and other intellectual property.

Tenn. appeals court muddies the waters regarding use of DLOM in divorce valuation

So much for clarity. A recent Tennessee appeals court decision hinged on the issue of whether a marketability discount was appropriate in the valuation of the husband’s interests in three real estate development partnerships. In reviewing the trial court’s analysis, the appeals court suggested that the lower court misunderstood the principle behind DLOM but ultimately upheld the lower court’s findings. The resulting decision leaves valuators in a pickle as to when to apply the discount and at what rate.

Why Del. Chancery rejects merger price in 'Dell' statutory appraisal action

It decided to give no weight to the final merger price—$13.75 per share, and a special $0.13 dividend issued to all shareholders—but rely exclusively on its own post-transaction DCF analysis to determine the fair value of the company. In so doing, the court deviated from a number of Chancery decisions—several issued in 2015—that found the deal price was the most reliable indicator of the company’s fair value.

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.

Court admits expert's anti-'Georgia-Pacific' royalty calculation

There is no absolute requirement to develop a reasonable royalty based on the Georgia-Pacific framework. That's the takeaway from a Daubert ruling in which the court denied the defendant's motion to preclude the testimony of the opposing damages expert, who determined a reasonable royalty based on market data instead of the customary Georgia-Pacific factors.

Wholesale exclusion of expert testimony contravenes Daubert, 2nd Circuit says

One error in an extensive economic analysis does not automatically call into question the entire expert opinion, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals recently said in the context of a securities fraud lawsuit involving the drug giant Pfizer. With this pronouncement the appeals court resuscitated a class action that had died after the district court excluded the plaintiffs' loss causation and damages expert under Daubert based on errors in the expert's event study. Deprived of the testimony, the plaintiffs were unable to prove two critical elements of their claim.

Why Bankruptcy Court declines to be bound by divorce valuation

Following the divorce, the husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and asked for confirmation of his plan. The issue was whether the plan could meet the liquidation test applicable under the Bankruptcy Code’s section 1325(a)(4). In essence, the test requires that creditors in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy receive present value payments that are at least equal to the amount the creditors would receive in a Chapter 7 case.

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