Amid a troubled economy and increased federal oversight, accounting firms have become the targets of a wave of new litigation—and Winston & Strawn is at the forefront of their defense.
Winston & Strawn's experience defending auditors ranges from securities fraud class actions to third-party tort cases to lawsuits and arbitrations involving audit clients or bankruptcy trustees. Following the implosion of financial services giant Refco, for example, Grant Thornton LLP called upon Winston & Strawn for defense against claims brought by investors, customers, and even Refco itself. The court's decision to dismiss the multi-billion dollar claims by Refco against Grant Thornton and others in light of Refco's own wrongdoing—along with the related decision by the highest court of New York on the issues of in pari delicto and imputation—has been heralded as the most significant precedent for the accountant liability field in years.
In a complex fraud case involving numerous parties, Winston & Strawn settled securities fraud suits on favorable terms and continues to represent Ernst & Young LLP in a high-stakes arbitration against HealthSouth. We also represent Deloitte & Touche LLP in a case that raises questions concerning confidentiality and the significance of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ("PCAOB") findings, as well as the proper roles and responsibilities of auditor and audit client.
Winston & Strawn's experience also includes representation of auditors in investigations by both federal and state regulatory bodies. The firm represents auditors in a number of regulatory inquiries stemming from audits related to failed financial institutions.
Our team includes trial and appellate litigators who practice in auditor liability, as well as securities litigation attorneys who have handled major cases involving accountant liability, and attorneys with recent experience working alongside the current decision-makers at the regulatory and investigatory agencies.
Winston & Strawn also has extensive experience representing auditors and others in the financial sector faced with lawsuits and administrative actions as they seek to have professional liability insurers defray the cost of defense as well as settlements or verdicts.