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The Admissibility of Calculated Value Assignments in Courts of Law: Larchick v. Pollock

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

In Larchick v. Pollock, the admissibility of calculated value assignments in Arizona courts of law took center stage. This article focuses on the importance of using well-founded valuation methodologies and how they are presented in legal settings.

The dispute in Larchick centered around the valuation of a closely held business in which both parties held a significant interest. The parties disagreed on the fair market value of the business, leading them to present their respective calculated value assignments to the court, each prepared by expert witnesses. The differences between the two value assignments were substantial, prompting the court to delve deeper into the methodologies employed by each expert.

The court's scrutiny of the valuations in the case involved a detailed examination of the assumptions and inputs used by the experts in their calculations. The court assessed the appropriateness of the selected valuation methods, such as the income approach, market approach, or asset-based approach, based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. The court also examined the experts' use of relevant financial data, market comparables, and industry-specific factors to support their valuations.

The court considered whether the experts had appropriately adjusted their valuations to account for various factors, such as the size of the business, its growth potential, the risks inherent in its operations, and any other unique characteristics that could impact the business's value. The court also evaluated the experts' treatment of any non-operating assets and liabilities, the appropriate discount and capitalization rates, and the extent to which they considered minority and marketability discounts in their valuations.

In their scrutiny, the court sought to determine if the experts had conducted thorough due diligence to ensure that their valuations were based on accurate and complete information. This included assessing the experts' access to relevant financial statements, management interviews, industry reports, and other sources of information that could provide insight into the business's operations and financial performance.

The court's assessment of the valuation methodologies in Larchick also involved a review of the experts' qualifications and experience. This included considering their educational background, professional certifications, and prior experience in valuing similar businesses. The court evaluated whether the experts' credentials and experience were sufficient to support the credibility of their valuations.

Ultimately, the court's scrutiny was focused on ensuring that the valuation methodologies employed by the experts were based on sound principles and supported by empirical evidence and finance literature. By thoroughly examining the experts' assumptions, data sources, and valuation techniques, the court sought to determine the admissibility of the calculated value assignments and facilitate a fair and equitable resolution of the dispute.

Larchick serves as an important reminder for valuation professionals and lawyers to ensure that their valuation methodologies are not only well-founded and adherent to industry standards but also capable of withstanding the rigorous scrutiny of the court. In doing so, valuation experts can help to promote greater confidence in the litigation process and contribute to a more just outcome for all parties involved.

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