Justices Urged To Review Fee Denial In DOL Stock Plan Case

June 11, 2024 – Media Coverage

Law360 (June 11, 2024, 4:29 PM EDT) – A construction design firm is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its fight for attorney fees after beating an enforcement case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the company and its founders mismanaged an employee stock ownership plan, with the firm arguing the Ninth Circuit erred in siding with the DOL.

Bowers + Kubota Consulting Inc. and founders Brian J. Bowers and Dexter C. Kubota filed a petition for a writ of certiorari Thursday that became publicly available online Monday. The petition argues that the Ninth Circuit was wrong in October to affirm a Hawaii federal court's decision to deny fees and nontaxable costs that the firm sought under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

The DOL first sued Bowers + Kubota and its founders in 2018, alleging the company and its executives mismanaged the Bowers + Kubota ESOP by overvaluing stock in a $40 million sale, but the DOL lost its case in 2021 following a five-day trial. The firm later appealed the attorney fee denial, though the lower court had awarded some other costs to the defense.

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