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Plaia v. Plaia

Court of Appeals of Utah

July 26, 2019

Michael Allen Plaia, Appellee,
v.
Alina Victoria Plaia, Appellant.

          Third District Court, Silver Summit Department The Honorable Kara Pettit No. 144500139

          Alina Victoria Plaia, Appellant Pro Se

          Dean C. Andreasen and Laura D. Johnson, Attorneys for Appellee

          JUDGE DIANA HAGEN authored this Opinion, in which JUDGES GREGORY K. ORME and DAVID N. MORTENSEN concurred.

          HAGEN, JUDGE.

         ¶1 Alina Victoria Plaia appeals the district court's enforcement of the stipulation (Stipulation) she entered into with her ex-husband Michael Allen Plaia in the course of their divorce proceeding. Alina[1] argues that the Stipulation should be set aside because it distributes non-marital property-shares in a company that employed Alina-to Michael as the result of a mutual mistake and because it inequitably distributes the shares. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in enforcing the Stipulation and distributing half of the shares to Michael, we affirm.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         ¶2 Michael and Alina married in 2001. In 2009, Alina co-founded Wide Bridge, Inc., an advisory and financial services company. In 2010, Alina, Michael, and their two children moved from New Jersey to Utah, although Alina continued to travel to New York for her work with Wide Bridge. In 2012, Alina acquired a company named Luxoft as a client for Wide Bridge. As compensation for Alina's work on Luxoft's initial public offering (IPO), Luxoft and Alina entered into an engagement letter, which Alina asserts "provided for a grant of up to 29, 412 shares of [Luxoft] to [Alina], the CEO and Co-founder of [Wide Bridge], subject to other terms and conditions."[3] Alina assisted Luxoft with its IPO in June 2013, and she became its Vice President of Global Communications.

         ¶3 Of the 29, 412 shares, Alina "was issued and received 5, 886 . . . in February 2014, pursuant to a restricted share award agreement." The restricted share award agreement provided that the 5, 886 shares would vest on June 15, 2014, subject to Alina's satisfaction of the "Criteria of Long Service Condition" or "CLS."

         The CLS required Alina's continued "employment or service as a consultant" for Luxoft through the vesting date. According to email correspondence between Luxoft and Alina dated April 1, 2015, the 5, 886 shares were delivered in 2014, [4] with the expectation that Alina would receive the remaining 23, 526 shares between 2015 and 2017.

         ¶4 In July 2014, Michael filed a petition for divorce in Utah. Alina subsequently filed for divorce in New Jersey. In her disclosures of the parties' marital assets, Alina listed "Luxoft Holding via Morgan Stanley 29, 412 shares at $32 (5, 886 vested)."[5]

         ¶5 Each represented by counsel, Alina and Michael entered into mediation and on October 2, 2014, they signed the Stipulation, in which the parties agreed as follows:

During the course of the marriage, the parties acquired an interest in a business known as Wide Bridge, Inc. with Luxoft as their primary client. With the exception of the Luxoft shares awarded to [Michael] herein, [Alina] is awarded all the parties['] interest, accounts and assets in Wide Bridge, Inc. and shall assume, and pay all debt associated with the parties' interest in Wide Bridge, Inc., holding [Michael] harmless therefrom. After receipt of the Luxoft shares awarded to [Michael], [Michael] hereby waives all interest in Wide Bridge, Inc.

         The Stipulation further provided that Michael and Alina were to receive one-half each of 23, 526 unvested Luxoft shares and 5, 886 vested shares. The Stipulation also equally divided the shares that Michael owned in his employer's company but it awarded Michael all the 2014 distributions Michael received from those shares. Regarding the shares that Alina and Michael agreed to divide equally as marital property, the Stipulation provided that "[e]ach party will sell the shares of stock, stock option and units awarded to ...


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