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BVU News and Trends October 2020

A monthly roundup of key developments of interest to business valuation experts.

Court of Chancery sanctions use of asset approach in complex appraisal case

A low-profile appraisal case in front of the Delaware Court of Chancery raised important valuation questions, including how the court should determine the fair value of a nonoperating entity and how it should deal with the value of claims both parties brought on behalf of the company prior to the contested merger.

Key Tennessee appeals court ruling finds tax affecting ‘relevant’ to fair value buyout

In a Tennessee buyout dispute involving a limited liability corporation organized as an S corporation, the parties disagreed over whether it was appropriate to tax affect in calculating the fair value of the terminated member’s interest.

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.

BVU News and Trends August 2020

A monthly roundup of key developments of interest to business valuation experts.

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.

BVU News and Trends July 2020

A monthly roundup of key developments of interest to business valuation experts.

‘Particular facts’ justify discounts in mandatory buyback of minority interest, says Missouri high court

Context is “crucial,” the Supreme Court of Missouri recently said in upholding the use of discounts in the court-ordered buyout of a minority owner’s shares in a family business.

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.

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.

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.

Robinson v. Langenbach

State high court upholds trial court’s use of DLOM and minority discount in buyout of minority interest resulting from shareholder oppression; court says there is no “fixed set of factors” trial court must consider for fair value calculation; “context is crucial” and here justified discounts.

High Court Says Context Supports Use of Discounts in Buyout From Shareholder Oppression

State high court upholds trial court’s use of DLOM and minority discount in buyout of minority interest resulting from shareholder oppression; court says there is no “fixed set of factors” trial court must consider for fair value calculation; “context is crucial” and here justified discounts.

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.

ESOP plaintiff appeals dismissal of lawsuit, leaning heavily on controversial Brundle case

In appealing the dismissal of her lawsuit with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, an ESOP plaintiff frequently invokes the Brundle case in which the same appeals court affirmed a $30 million judgment for the ESOP.

New DOL process agreement confronts control issue in ESOP valuations

The Department of Labor recently settled ESOP litigation with the trustee Farmers National Bank of Danville (FNB).

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