BG ESOP Lawsuit Noted in New York Times Article

The New York Times reported on a lawsuit filed by Bailey Glasser. The article, titled “He Grew Up in the Shadow of the ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’ Then He Got Into Debt Settlement” (Saturday, February 10, 2024), details a debt settlement operation run by Ryan Sasson (the stepson of Stephen Drescher, a close associate of Jordan Belfort, the self-proclaimed “Wolf of Wall Street”) across several states and involving various entities and law firms – and even shoe designer Steve Madden – now facing serious civil fraud changes brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

To cash out his stake in the company before the regulators pounced, Sasson sold the company to “to its employees, through a financial transaction known as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). The deal valued the company at $242 million. Mr. Sasson described the transaction as something of a gift to the employees — ‘our Strategic family,’ he called them — who had built the company. Mr. Sasson had, effectively, cashed out. His employees now owed 100 percent of Strategic.”

Bailey Glasser’s highly experienced ESOP team filed a lawsuit challenging the fair market value of the $242 million ESOP transaction, which the Times linked to in its article. In 2019, the ESOP trust allowed Sasson and others to reap an additional $104.5 million from the ESOP, supposedly because the company met certain targets. Sasson and the other defendants are trying to move the lawsuit to a secret arbitration proceeding and limit the damages to a fraction of the excess money paid to Sasson and others. A decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on that issue is forthcoming.

Our award-winning and nationally ranked ERISA/ESOP team has deep experience in handling matters such as the one described by the New York Time article and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of employees and retirees. To learn more about our ERISA group visit here.

To read the New York Time article, visit here

ERISA Partner Mark Boyko Quoted in Law360 on 401(k) Forfeiture Case

Bailey Glasser partner Mark Boyko was quoted in the Law360 article, “3 Arguments, Hearing Benefits Attys Should Watch in Feb.,” commenting on the significance of a new theory of liability under ERISA against Clorox Co. in a California federal court. The case challenges the company’s use of 401(k) forfeitures, created when employees leave before fully vesting, to offset corporate contributions into the plan.

“The two main issues in the case involve the plaintiffs’ standing and industry practice of how to treat 401(k) plan forfeitures,” Mark said. “A decision for defendants on standing or for plaintiffs on the merits would have meaningful consequences that sweep beyond the case itself.” Read the full article here.

Mark is a pioneer in ERISA class action litigation and represents 401(k) plan participants alleging breach of fiduciary duties by their employers and has secured judgments and settlements in this area exceeding $500 million. Learn more about his experience here.

#ERISA #ClassActions #EmployeeBenefits #BaileyGlasser

BG Defeats Attempt to Dismiss Federal Class Action ESOP Lawsuit

Another win on behalf of protecting company employees’ hard-earned money: today, our ERISA team defeated a motion to dismiss that challenged a class action brought on behalf of a class of investors in the Churchill Holdings, Inc. Employee Stock Option Plan where we alleged that the trustees breached their fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions in violation of ERISA law.

The federal court in Arnold v. Parades (filed in the Middle District of Tennessee), rejected virtually every argument made by defendants. Judge Crenshaw held that the plaintiffs’ individual releases did not bar them from suing on behalf of their ESOP, that the plan’s class action waiver was unenforceable because it prevented effective vindication of statutory rights and violated ERISA’s anti-exculpatory provision, section 410, and that plaintiffs adequately alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions. Plaintiffs are challenging the fair market value of the stock determination made by the trustee when it terminated the Churchill Holdings, Inc. ESOP.

The Bailey Glasser team includes partner and ERISA Practice Group Leader Greg Porter, partners Mark Boyko, Ryan Jenny, and Patrick Muench, and associate Laura Babiak. Our ERISA team is a leader in protecting ERISA and ESOP plans, and is ranked nationally by Chambers & Partners and Best Law Firms, with Greg Porter also being ranked Band One in ERISA Litigation, Mainly Plaintiffs – USA-Nationwide. For more about our ERISA work, please visit here.

To read the Court’s opinion, visit this link.

Title IX Lawsuit Filed by Women Student-Athletes Against University of Oregon

Eugene, OR: Thirty-two female student-athletes filed a detailed sex discrimination class action over 100 pages long against the University of Oregon today for depriving women of equal treatment and benefits, equal athletic aid, and equal opportunities to participate in varsity intercollegiate athletics in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The case, filed by twenty-six women’s varsity beach volleyball team members and six women’s club rowing team members in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon, seeks “to hold Oregon accountable for discriminating against all of its female student-athletes and potential student-athletes, make Oregon pay damages to the women it has deprived and is depriving of equal treatment and equal athletic financial aid, and stop Oregon from violating Title IX in the future.”

Title IX, a federal civil rights law, prohibits sex discrimination by the University of Oregon and all educational institutions that receive federal funds. The women’s beach volleyball team members “aim to hold Oregon accountable for depriving them and all varsity female student-athletes of equal treatment and equal athletic financial aid in violation of Title IX.” The women’s club rowing team members “seek to hold Oregon accountable for depriving them and all present and future female students at Oregon of equal opportunities to participate in varsity athletics.”

“Title IX has been the law for more than fifty years. Oregon needs to comply with it, now,” said BG partner Arthur H. Bryant, lead counsel for the women. “Three months ago, The Oregonian exposed the school’s blatant sex discrimination in a front-page investigative report: “Oregon Ducks beach volleyball players detail disparate treatment that experts say could violate Title IX.” But the school refuses to change its ways or even admit there is a problem. It has taught its women athletes what the history of Title IX has shown: If women want equality, they need to fight for it. So that’s what the women at Oregon are doing.”

“We are proud to represent these courageous women who have decided to stand up and fight for the equality Title IX requires and against the sex discrimination that Title IX prohibits,” said BG lead co-counsel Lori Bullock in Des Moines, Iowa. “These young women did not go to school imagining they would sue their university, but they are committed to fighting for what is right.”

Other members of the BG team on this case are partners Joshua Hammack and Cary Joshi, and associates Laura Babiak and Savanna Jones.

For more click here.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Interviews Partner David Selby on Lawsuit Against Gunmaker Taurus

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covers a new lawsuit brought by law firms Bailey Glasser and Wheeles Garmon. David Selby II, partner and Mass Tort Practice Group chair is leading the litigation on behalf of Bailey Glasser. “The guns fire without pulling the trigger, and they fire when they shouldn’t fire,” Selby told AJC.

The article delves into a nationwide class action lawsuit filed on Friday in Georgia against firearm manufacturer and distributor Taurus, which seeks to have Taurus institute a robust notice and recall program. It is our position that the pistols cannot be repaired.

The suit alleges, among other things, violations of Georgia’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and seeks unspecified damages to compensate thousands of affected gun owners, including the profits Taurus made from producing the allegedly defective firearms and notes that “[f]or years, (the Taurus companies) have knowingly manufactured, marketed, and distributed thousands of defective (GX4) pistols to consumers . . . Specifically, the defect causes the trigger of the [GX4] pistols to move rearward when the pistol is subjected to an impact or dropped.”

“We certainly anticipate there unfortunately will be more (harmful incidents) because the guns are out there,” Selby said.

To learn more, read the full article here.
#DefectiveFirearms #Taurus #BaileyGlasser #TaurusGX4 #DropFire

Partner Todd Mathews on the Mass Tort News Legalcast

In the most recent episode of the Mass Tort News Legalcast, Bailey Glasser partner Todd Mathews discusses how the firm is helping survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the State of Maryland acting through the Department of Juvenile Services and its predecessors find closure, healing, and accountability.

The discussion also touches on other states’ approaches to addressing child abuse cases, with some implementing limited windows of opportunity for survivors to file claims. Todd points out the challenges of addressing these cases, especially the need for a sensitive and compassionate approach, avoiding the re-traumatization of survivors.

Switching gears, the conversation touches on recent developments in the legal field, particularly in relation to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its potential third bankruptcy filing. Todd expresses his concern and disapproval of such actions, which he views as an abuse of the bankruptcy process to delay compensating victims further. He also addresses the viability of the Camp Lejeune docket, highlighting how recent issues with case attrition and unethical practices in the legal field can impact its resolution.

Partner Todd Mathews Visits “The Leverage Report” Podcast

Todd Mathews, Bailey Glasser mass torts partner, is featured on The Leverage Report podcast where he discusses his commitment to justice, “do no harm,” and being inspired by “The Blind Side,” with program host Susan Barfield.

Todd also discusses the firm’s recently filed sexual abuse cases against the State of Maryland on behalf of former minors who were horrifically abused while institutionalized in the juvenile hall system. In one highlight from the program, Todd states:

“We hope that with the position of the Attorney General, which I read to you earlier, along with the law that has changed, we hope that we can find some sort of a global solution for these survivors. The last thing I really want to do is subject these survivors to depositions and trial and all of the public scrutiny that, quite frankly, they don’t deserve. So we are in contact with the Attorney General’s office. We were before we even filed suit. And we believe we’re going to have a very productive interaction. And moving forward, I think we’re going to try and find a… I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to try and pursue justice with us on these cases.”

The podcast can be viewed here (along with a transcript):

For more about our lawsuits on behalf of abuse survivors in Maryland, visit here:

Bailey Glasser Wins Summary Judgment for Texas Borrowers over Illegal “Pay-to-Pay” Junk Fees

On behalf of a class of consumers who were charged illegal fees just for paying their mortgages over the phone, Bailey & Glasser, LLP won a significant summary judgment victory in a class action before a federal district court in Houston, Texas.

The lawsuit against Lakeview Loan Servicing and LoanCare alleges that they charged FHA mortgage borrowers illegal “Pay-to-Pay” fees, extra charges up to $12 for processing monthly payments by phone. Bailey Glasser partners James Kauffman and Elizabeth Ryan were lead counsel in this case.

“This case is a big win for American consumers who struggle enough without being nickel-and-dimed by illegal junk fees,” said lead counsel James Kauffman. “These kinds of fees are unlawful, and we will continue to fight across the country to protect consumers from companies taking advantage of them.”

Other members of the Bailey Glasser team consisted of Contingency Practice Area Leader Jonathan Marshall, Consumer Litigation Practice Group Leader Patricia Kipnis, attorney Denali Hedrick, and paralegals Mary McClay and Vanessa Pierre.

To learn more please click here.

#justice #paytopay #consumerprotection #illegalfees #baileyglasser

Bailey Glasser Announces New Leadership For Consumer Litigation and Corporate Practice Groups

Bailey & Glasser, LLP is pleased to announce the appointment of two longstanding firm partners to lead its national Corporate and Consumer Litigation practice groups. Jonathan S. Deem is the new Practice Group Leader of Bailey Glasser’s Corporate Group, and Patricia Mulvoy Kipnis our new Consumer Litigation Practice Group Leader.

Jonathan Deem is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, where he leads the nationwide corporate team that handles mergers and acquisitions, financial services, corporate finance, tax, and entrepreneurial transactions, including venture capital. Among numerous recognitions, Chambers USA has recognized Jonathan since 2019, with one client stating that “Jonathan is the best I have ever worked with.” The Corporate Practice Group and lawyers on the team are also recognized by Chambers USA and the U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Lawyers” and “Best Law Firm in America.”

Patricia Kipnis is a partner in the firm’s New Jersey and Philadelphia offices where she leads the Consumer Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Kipnis is one of the firm’s leaders in challenging “Pay-to-Pay” and other “junk fees” imposed on consumers by mortgage servicers and other debt collectors through class action litigation in courts nationwide. The consumer litigation team has won several impactful cases, including lawsuits against major corporations such as Uber, Quicken, DISH Network, and mortgage servicers. Ms. Kipnis is also a Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and formerly taught at the Rutgers School of Law – Camden.

The new practice group leader appointments highlight Bailey Glasser’s emphasis on experienced leadership and collaborative teams. Read the full announcement and learn more about Jonathan Deem and Patricia Kipnis here.
#ConsumerLaw #CorporateLaw #FirmLeadership

Four Legal Services Agencies Designated Cy Pres Award Recipients in Mortgage Class Action Settlement

Bailey & Glasser, LLP is pleased to announce that four legal service organizations across Pennsylvania have been designated recipients of $21,228.93 each in cy pres awards from the mortgage class action settlement in Dutcher v. Shellpoint. The organizations, the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, MidPenn Legal Services, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the North Penn Legal Services, all assist indigent Pennsylvanians facing housing insecurity.

Cy pres awards allow for the distribution of leftover funds from a lawsuit settlement to be disbursed to charitable organizations whose missions generally align with the purpose of the lawsuit. Attorney Larry Lederer is “delighted that the court approved the distribution of unclaimed money from the settlement to these legal aid organizations, each of which has helped thousands of families with critical legal issues such as avoiding evictions and foreclosures or gaining access to SNAP and disability benefits. These services are vital to the public and an important aspect of the legal community.”

Debby Freedman, Executive Director of the CLS, expressed their gratitude for the award. “Because of your commitment to justice, CLS can continue to help struggling Philadelphians when they face urgent crises that threaten their homes, jobs, and families. Your strong support has fueled this work and allowed us to respond to new challenges for our clients and communities.”

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