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Scalia v. Reliance Trust Co.

In an evolving ESOP case, court says DOL’s allegations that ESOP trustee and various directors engaged in breaches of fiduciary duties and caused the ESOP to enter a prohibited transaction (i.e., overpaid for company stock) require “fact-intensive inquiry” and cannot be resolved on summary judgment.

Court Says DOL Claims in ESOP Case Require ‘Fact-Intensive Inquiry’ and Denies Motions for Summary Judgment

In an evolving ESOP case, court says DOL’s allegations that ESOP trustee and various directors engaged in breaches of fiduciary duties and caused the ESOP to enter a prohibited transaction (i.e., overpaid for company stock) require “fact-intensive inquiry” and cannot be resolved on summary judgment.

BVU News and Trends January 2021

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

BVU News and Trends December 2020

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

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).

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.

BVU News and Trends October 2020

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

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.

BVU News and Trends August 2020

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Attack on DOL’s ability to seek monetary damages in Vinoskey ESOP case fails

In the contentious Vinoskey ESOP case, the trustee recently asked for a new trial, arguing the Secretary of Labor, representing the plaintiff, lacked the statutory authority to seek monetary damages on behalf of the ESOP and the court lacked the authority to hear this claim.

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