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Robins Kaplan Announces Bremer Bank Employee-Shareholders File Class-Action Lawsuit Against Three Trustees of Otto Bremer Trust

January 8, 2020 GMT


National trial firm Robins Kaplan LLP ® announced today that it has, with co-counsel Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, filed a class-action complaint on behalf of a group of 16 employee-shareholders of Bremer Bank against three Trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust for breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder oppression. These employee-shareholders represent hundreds of years of service to the bank and hail from locations throughout the region.

“Today’s action seeks to stop the Trustees’ attempted seizure of the employee-shareholders’ voting rights,” said Richard Allyn, partner at Robins Kaplan. “For the last 30 years, the employees of Bremer Bank have controlled its destiny as majority voting shareholders, and they have nurtured and grown the bank into a landmark financial institution that serves local communities throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Our clients allege that the Trustees’ efforts to seize voting control of the bank away from its employees and force a sale is unlawful and contrary to Otto Bremer’s vision for the bank to serve local communities and return the bank’s profits to those communities through grants, gifts, and charitable work.”

The 32-page complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court alleges that the defendants breached their fiduciary duty by attempting to strip shareholders of their voting control through “manipulative transfers” of shares to third parties in the pursuit of self-interested transactions. The complaint also alleges that the actions of the defendants make it clear that the purpose of the transfers is to push through a sale of Bremer Bank, contrary to the best interests of the bank, its shareholders, its employees, and the Midwestern communities they serve, and contrary to Otto Bremer’s wish for the charitable trust to preserve its connection with the regional bank.

“Majority voting control by the bank’s employee-shareholders has been a defining characteristic of Bremer Bank for over 30 years,” said Allyn. “Our clients—the employees of the bank from all over Minnesota, up to Fargo, North Dakota—have one goal in mind: preserving this wonderful bank and allowing it to continue to serve the communities where the bank’s resources are so critically needed.”

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration from the court that the purported transfer of voting rights was unlawful and ineffective. They are also seeking a court order to prevent any further attempts to undermine their voting interests.

About Robins Kaplan LLP®

Robins Kaplan is among the nation’s premier trial law firms, with more than 250 lawyers located in Bismarck, N.D.; Boston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Naples, Fla; New York; Silicon Valley; and Sioux Falls, S.D. The firm litigates, mediates, and arbitrates high-stakes, complex disputes, repeatedly earning national recognition. Firm clients include—as both plaintiffs and defendants—numerous Fortune 500 corporations, emerging markets companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals.

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CONTACT: Media Contact:

Taylor Pentelovitch

Robins Kaplan LLP




SOURCE: Robins Kaplan LLP

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PUB: 01/08/2020 03:03 PM/DISC: 01/08/2020 03:03 PM