Wilmington Trust Settles Nation Safe Stock Suit for $5.5 Million

June 1, 2021, 6:11 PM

Wilmington Trust NA will pay $5.5 million to settle a proposed class action challenging its handling of a $342 million transaction on behalf of the Nation Safe Drivers Employee Stock Ownership Plan, a plan participant told a federal judge in Delaware.

The deal, announced May 28, is expected to provide an average recovery of more than $25,000 for about 215 people with vested account balances in the Nation Safe plan, along with payments of $50 each for the 82 plan participants without vested account balances. The settlement amount represents 36% to 45% of the plan participants’ “best possible potential recovery” in the case, according to settlement paperwork filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The lawsuit by Nation Safe plan participant Kristina Fink claims Wilmington, which served as trustee for the stock plan, allowed Nation Safe employees to pay $342 million for company stock that was worth less than $30 million. Last year, Wilmington filed a third-party complaint arguing that advisory firm Stout Risius Ross Inc. could be liable for valuing the stock.

Wilmington and Stout are entering into a separate settlement agreement, according to the filing.

The case is before Judge Colm F. Connolly, who in 2020 declined to transfer the case to Florida or dismiss claims against former Nation Safe shareholders.

Fink is represented by Bailey & Glasser LLP and Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow LLP, which stand to receive more than $1.8 million in attorney’s fees if the deal is approved.

Morris James LLP, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and Groom Law Group represent Wilmington.

The case is Fink v. Wilmington Tr., NA, D. Del., No. 1:19-cv-01193, motion for settlement approval 5/28/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacklyn Wille in Washington at jwille@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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