Court awards attorneys fees, costs in man's dispute involving sale of Cook Technologies stock to company's ESOP

By Carrie Bradon | May 24, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently granted a man's motion for attorneys fees and costs related to his lawsuit claiming improper withholding of pension benefits under ERISA, breach of a loan agreement and violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

In the May 3 memorandum and order, U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner awarded Thomas A. Panzarella $247,364.37 in attorneys' fees and costs in his lawsuit against Cook Technologies, its employee stock ownership plan and the plan's trustee. 

The legal battle involved Panzarella's sale of his Cook stock to the company's employee stock ownership plan. 

Panzarella filed his motion for attorneys fees and costs after winning partial judgment on his claims on Dec. 17, 2018, in which the court called for the reversal of  "a prohibited transaction under ERISA such that Mr. Panzarella was ordered to return the sum of $312,240 to the Cook ESOP and the Cook parties were directed to return to Mr. Panzarella 3,000 shares of Cook Technologies’ stock," court filings said.. 

Panzarella later provided the court with copies of his attorneys bills and costs in which his attorneys, James Golden and Nancy Goldstein and the law firm of Hamburg & Golden, asked for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $412,835. 

After considering the hours worked by the attorneys and if the rates were reasonable, Joyner directed the Cook parties to pay attorneys' fees and costs in the total amount of $247,364.37.

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