This program will review how the Department of Labor approaches ESOP investigations and how that has frequently escalated to litigation. Using late 2021 decision of the Federal District Court for the District of Hawaii, David Johanson, the lead trial counsel in the case, will review the process of how a successful defense judgment was obtained by the ESOP selling shareholders and how all the Department of Labor allegations that the ESOP paid greater than fair market value were successfully defeated.
The program will also cover how the DOL allegations regarding the monitoring of an independent trustee were defeated and why the allegations regarding the purported inflation of profitability projections for the ESOP sponsor were rejected by the Court. A discussion of the post-trial rulings and other recent ESOP case law will be included as well as a review of best practices to avoid the threat of DOL claims in ESOP transactions.
The program will also include an update on the pending federal legislation mandating that the Department of Labor issue proposed regulations for public comment on the ESOP adequate consideration standard.