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Stegall v. Stegall

Court of Appeals of Virginia

December 27, 2013

MICHAEL ANDREW STEGALL
v.
RHONDA GAY WHEELER STEGALL

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FRANKLIN COUNTY William N. Alexander, II, Judge

(Monica Taylor Monday; Rhonda L. Overstreet; Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore LLP; Overstreet Sloan, PLLC, on briefs), for appellant.

(Frank K. Friedman; Erin B. Ashwell; Woods Rogers, PLC, on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Humphreys, McCullough and Senior Judge Bumgardner.

MEMORANDUM OPINION [*]

PER CURIAM.

Michael Andrew Stegall (husband) appeals the trial court's valuation of a family business in an equitable distribution hearing. Husband argues that the trial court "erred in its valuation of Stegall, Inc., by accepting Harry Schwarz's arbitrary valuation of fully-appreciated fixed assets of the company." Upon reviewing the record and briefs of the parties, we conclude that this appeal is without merit. Accordingly, we summarily affirm the decision of the trial court. See Rule 5A:27.

BACKGROUND

"When reviewing a trial court's decision on appeal, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, granting it the benefit of any reasonable inferences." Congdon v. Congdon, 40 Va.App. 255, 258, 578 S.E.2d 833, 834 (2003) (citations omitted).

Husband and Rhonda Gay Wheeler Stegall (wife) married on July 1, 2000 and separated on May 9, 2009. Throughout the marriage, husband worked at the family business, Stegall, Inc., d/b/a Blue Ridge Tire Center. In 2004, husband acquired the business from his father and stepmother. He is the sole owner of the business.

An equitable distribution hearing was held on May 6, 2013.[1] Each party presented expert witnesses who opined about their valuation of Stegall, Inc. Dean Heinberg was husband's expert and valued the business, excluding real estate, at $412, 074. Schwarz was wife's expert, and valued the business, excluding real estate, at $551, 000. The difference between the values reflects the fixed asset adjustment. To determine the fixed asset adjustment, Heinberg relied on the property tax value assigned by the Commissioner of Revenue. Meanwhile, "[b]ased on the age and nature of the fixed assets, " Schwarz "estimated that the value in use of the fully depreciated fixed assets would be approximately 20% of the original cost of those assets." There also was a difference in the adjustment to asset improvements.

The trial court found Schwarz's appraisal to be "better reasoned and more persuasive" and valued Stegall, Inc. at $551, 000. The final decree of divorce was entered on June 10, 2013. This appeal followed.

ANALYSIS

Valuation

Husband argues that the trial court erred in accepting Schwarz's valuation because Schwarz "arbitrarily" estimated the value of the fully depreciated assets ...


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