“One of the difficult aspects of defending an accounting malpractice case is overcoming the lay perspective of the precise role of an accountant. Often the defense of an accountant can turn on whether the fact finder fully understands the distinct role of the accountant in the limited context of the facts presented. Accordingly, accountants and their attorneys should be proactive in ensuring that the parties and others refer to the applicable professional standard that governs the case,” writes Professional Liability Practice Group partner Seth L. Laver and associate Andrew P. Carroll.
In an article for The Voice, Seth and Andrew discuss the standard duties performed by accountants, the “public watchdog” role, and best practices when representing an accountant during litigation.
Citing MF Global Holdings, Ltd. V. Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, Seth and Andrew highlight PwC’s successful motion in limine, which barred MF Global from referring to PwC as a “public watchdog” — a term the plaintiff intended to use to gain public sympathy before trial. Seth and Andrew continue on to conclude, “Defense counsel must therefore remain diligent in identifying and objecting to such terms and phrases from the outset of any case. Doing so will help prevent confirmation bias of lay expectations of an accountant in a trial or an alternative dispute resolution.
“Attorneys: Be a Watchdog for Your Accountant Clients,” DRI’s The Voice, March 29, 2017