Wilmington Trust agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle an ERISA class-action lawsuit filed against the company while denying the allegations or any wrongdoing.
"We are pleased to resolve the claims in this case and avoid what could have been a protracted and expensive legal proceeding," a spokeswoman said in an email. "While we deny all allegations with respect to these claims, we feel that this settlement is the best way for all parties to move forward."
The spokeswoman added: "As always, we believe we have acted in accordance with all applicable laws, industry best practices and will continue to carry out our legacy and commitment to quality client services."
The class action, filed Nov. 2, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., by Lyle J. Guidry and Rodney Choate, claimed participants in the Martin Resource Management Corp. ESOP Plan were "deprived of their hard-earned retirement benefits" as a result of Wilmington Trust acquiring shares of Martin Resource Management Corp.
In 2012 and 2013, Wilmington Trust bought stock in MRMC. Some of the stock was purchased through loan proceeds. The two transactions "allowed party in interest sellers to unload their interests in MRMC at more than fair market value, and saddle plan participants with millions of dollars of debt payable to parties in interest to finance the transaction," the complaint said.
Martin Resource Management Corp. ESOP Plan had $60 million in assets and $128 million in liabilities as of Dec. 31, 2018, according to its latest Form 5550.