Bailey Glasser Wins Class Certification on Behalf of Mona Vie Employee Stock Ownership Plan Participants
Current and former employees of Mona Vie, Inc. scored a victory recently when Federal Judge Bruce S. Jenkins granted class certification of the claims brought by Kelly Jessop, a former Mona Vie, Inc. employee. On behalf of other plan participants, Mr. Jessop alleges that the trustee of the Mona Vie Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”), Bankers Trust Company of South Dakota, and certain corporate officers violated ERISA when engaging in a transaction in which the ESOP was issued stock in Mona Vie, then valued at $186 million and secured by a loan payable by the ESOP. Mr. Jessop alleges that Mona Vie ESOP participants are now left with stock that is essentially worthless and subject to a $186 million loan.
In opposition to class certification, Bankers Trust argued that class certification was unnecessary to protect the interests of ESOP participants and that a class action was not superior to individual actions. Judge Jenkins rejected Banker Trust’s arguments, writing in his opinion, “The fiduciary duties owed by Defendant Bankers Trust apply to the ESOP as a whole… given the $186 million sought by Plaintiff in damages, individual lawsuits by individual ESOP participants could potentially exhaust a limited fund available for damages. “ Accordingly, Judge Jenkins granted class certification under Federal Rule 23(b)(1).
Kelly Jessop and the class are represented by Bailey Glasser attorneys Greg Porter and James Kauffman. Joining in the representation are James Magelby and Jennifer Fraser Parish of Magelby Greenwood, P.C. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for Utah, Case Number 14-cv-00916.