Greene Espel has extensive experience in a wide variety of disputes and problems confronting accounting firms, including the representation of Big Four, regional, and local accounting firms in audit, tax, and consulting negligence lawsuits, class action securities litigation, review board proceedings, and various federal and state regulatory and criminal matters. We pride ourselves in being proactive, using our extensive knowledge of accounting literature, standards, and guidelines to help our accounting firm clients avoid litigation and other problems.
An unfortunate reality in today’s litigious business world is that accountants find themselves the victim of all too many lawsuits. A substantial portion of our practice at Greene Espel PLLP is devoted to helping accountants avoid and resolve disputes. Our experience comes from representing both large and small accounting firms in a wide variety of matters, including the following:
- Defense of numerous audit negligence lawsuits. The largest of those lawsuits involved the defense (for more than five years) of claims that an accounting firm’s alleged negligence caused the failure of a large financial institution and damages in excess of $500 million. In a 2005 jury trial, we not only obtained a complete defense verdict (no recovery for the plaintiff), but also a $2.4 million judgment in favor of the Big Four accounting firm defendant, reimbursing our client for its defense costs, including attorney fees.
- Defense of many tax negligence lawsuits. Those lawsuits have involved charitable gift annuities, trust instruments, tax returns, and Employee Stock Ownership Plans.
- Defense of several class action securities lawsuits in which accountants were accused of issuing negligent opinions with respect to financial statements.
- Representation of accountants and accounting firms in AICPA and State review board proceedings.
- Representation of accountants and accounting firms in a variety of criminal and regulatory investigations, including many conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Department of Justice, and State Attorneys General.
- Representation of accountants and accounting firms called upon to provide non-party testimony and document discovery in SEC proceedings, Federal and State Grand Jury proceedings, and both civil and criminal lawsuits.
- Helping accountants avoid litigation by making sound decisions about independence, regulatory disclosures, disputes requiring withdrawal, and a wide variety of other audit and tax issues.
- Defense of employment lawsuits brought against accounting firms. Those lawsuits have involved claims of wrongful termination, non-competition agreements, discrimination, sexual harassment, and other employment issues.
Our significant involvement in defending and advising accountants has required that we develop tremendous expertise in reading and understanding financial statements, audit working papers, relevant laws, literature and guidelines, internal procedures manuals, audit and tax programs, and the like.