The Labor Department has sued Marine Midland Bank to recover losses from an employee stock ownership plan for which it served as trustee. The suit alleges the bank violated its fiduciary duty as trustee to the ESOP of Lawless Holding Corp., North Tonawanda, N.Y., when it failed to determine if an outside valuation firm had correctly appraised the value of company stock held by the stock ownership plan. The plan owned the equivalent of 40% of the companys stock. Because the outside valuation firm understated the value of the ESOP stock, and the bank failed to conduct its own analysis to determine if the valuation was a fair price, the ESOP accepted a lower price for the Lawless stock it owned which the company bought back during a merger with another company than it should have. Since the stock was purchased from the ESOP by Lawless as part of the companys merger, the Labor Department lawsuit alleges that Marine Midland permitted the plan to sell shares to its plan sponsor, which stood to gain from paying the ESOP a lower price.