Accounting and financial reporting remains at the forefront of corporate litigation and has reemerged as a focal point for regulatory scrutiny. Today, defendants are confronted with a myriad of legal challenges based on increasingly complex industry concepts. The potential consequences never have been greater with civil plaintiffs seeking extraordinary financial recoveries while federal prosecutors aggressively pursue enforcement actions deriving from well-coordinated criminal and regulatory investigations. Our accounting litigation practice is comprised of a nationally recognized, multidisciplinary team of trial lawyers with a longstanding track record of winning such matters on dispositive motions, at trial, and on appeal.
We are highly experienced in securities litigation, class action defense, government investigations and enforcement actions, state regulatory board matters, white collar criminal litigation, professional malpractice claims and appellate advocacy. We possess not only a secure command of the applicable law, but the fluency in the language of the profession and the proficiency to decipher and untangle the most complex web of accounting-based allegations.
Our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of GAAP, GAAS, and other accounting and auditing practices that guide accountants and auditors.
We have represented each of the “Big Four” accounting firms as well as several national and regional firms and their auditors. We have also represented public corporations, their officers and directors and numerous financial service entities and their professionals in a variety of accounting disputes. The following are examples of successful outcomes that we have obtained for our clients:
- In re Parmalat Sec. Litig. (S.D.N.Y.): Represented Deloitte & Touche in a case involving massive fraud at an Italian company, most of whose securities were traded on European securities exchanges. A successful strategy to exclude foreign investors from the U.S. class action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction reduced the accounting firm’s potential exposure by billions of dollars.
- In re Bally Total Fitness Sec. Litig. (N.D. Ill.): Obtained dismissal of a securities fraud class action challenging Ernst & Young’s audits of the nation’s largest health club operator, which restated several years of financial statements following an audit committee investigation that revealed a “culture” that purportedly encouraged “aggressive accounting,” including the failure to record adequate reserves for membership cancellations and attrition.
- Securities and Exchange Commission v. Buettner, et al. (E.D. Pa.): Achieved exceptional settlement concessions for PricewaterhouseCoopers audit partner in a section 10(b) action involving purchase price adjustments, bad debt reserves, and intercompany transfers, after moving to disqualify the SEC’s accounting expert for GAAP deficiencies in his opinion.
- Order of Formal Investigation No. 105-OFI-2006-003 (PCAOB): Represented an audit partner from a major national accounting firm partner in a PCAOB investigation involving a purportedly deficient audit of a publicly-traded software company and numerous alleged workpaper violations under GAAS and PCAOB standards. No charges were brought against the client.
- TCG Holder Representative, Inc. v. Grant Thornton LLP (Ill. Cir. Ct.): Obtained dismissal with prejudice and without leave to amend on all claims against Grant Thornton in a post-purchase price dispute between the selling shareholders of an audit client and the acquirer in a corporate merger.
- NCP Litigation Trust v. KPMG (N.J. Supreme Ct.): Represented KPMG in an audit malpractice suit alleging a KPMG audit had failed to uncover fraudulent revenue recognition issues involving false journal entries and phony checks. After New Jersey Supreme Court decision on the “in pari materia” doctrine, the case was favorably resolved through mediation.
- In re Enron Sec. Litig. (S. D. Tex.): Represented numerous partners, counsel and associates of an international law firm in parallel criminal and civil securities litigation arising from the financial collapse of Enron Corporation. None of our clients were charged or found civilly liable.
- Hollinger International, Inc. (N.D. Ill.): Represented former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, who served as Chairman of the Audit Committee of Hollinger International, Inc., in a number of related matters, including a class action securities suit, a Department of Justice investigation, an Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and other litigation arising from allegations of unauthorized payments to former Chairman Conrad Black and others. The DOJ and SEC brought no criminal or civil claims against the client, who has also been dismissed from the class action.
- Wolfson v. Meritor Savings Bank (E.D. Pa.): Awarded complete defense verdict for savings bank after two-week jury trial in a fraud-on-the-market securities class action relating to goodwill write-downs and the sufficiency of loss reserves.
- Buff v. Grant Thornton LLP (Camden County, N.J.): Defended accounting firm and individual tax professionals in action alleging malpractice in connection with multiple interrelated trust and estate tax returns. Settled in mediation after expert discovery.
- Pacesetter/MVHC, Inc. v. Grant Thornton LLP (Cook County, Ill.): Successful defense of action by successor owners of small business lender alleging failure to properly audit asset valuations; related proceedings in SBA receivership action.
- Grant Thornton LLP v. JBPB (Cook County, Ill.):Successful claim for breach of contract by accounting firm related to a former affiliate’s promissory note.
- Tang, et al. v. Grant Thornton LLP (Cook County, Ill. and Illinois Appellate Court):Successful defense of breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims against accounting firm brought by partners in former affiliated firm.
- Lang v. Grant Thornton LLP, et al. (Milwaukee County, Wis.):Currently defending accounting firm in breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims brought by trust beneficiary.
- Successful defense of accounting firm in licensing matter brought by state regulator.
Selected as a Leading Law Firm for Commercial LitigationChambers USA - 2015
Recommended for LitigationBenchmark Litigation - 2015