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Accountants' Liability

Author(s): Dan L Goldwasser, M Thomas Arnold
Practice Area: Accounting and financial reporting
Published: May 1996
Supplement Date: Oct 2015 i Other versions can be found in the Related Items tab.
ISBN: 9780872240957
PLI Item #: 595

The liability exposure of accountants has widened dramatically over the past decade in the wake of numerous frontpage corporate and financial scandals.

Accountants’ Liability has been the reliable and readable resource that accountants have turned to for guidance on how they can meet their professional responsibilities, comply with relevant rules, and avoid the increased number of legal land mines.

Accountants’ Liability provides attorneys with the legal, strategic, and tactical knowledge they need to prove (or successfully defend against) claims against accountants such as:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Negligence
  • Securities claim fraud
  • Common law fraud
  • Civil RICO actions, and
  • Practice and ethical violations.

Accountants’ Liability spotlights the damage done if accountants fail to follow professional conduct, auditing, accounting or tax standards. The expert authors discuss the sources of current claims, the various legal theories upon which they may be instituted, and some of the practical problems faced by the parties in litigating such claims.

Accountants’ Liability is an essential guide for all accountants, auditors, and attorneys, as well as a useful reference for insurance professionals.

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Dan L. Goldwasser is a former shareholder of Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz, P.C., who continues to practice law in the firm’s New York office. Since his admission to the bar in 1966, he has defended over 150 malpractice cases against accounting firms and has represented the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants in a number of important professional liability cases (including Credit Alliance v. Arthur Andersen, in which the New York Court of Appeals reaffirmed the state’s privity rule). Mr. Goldwasser’s clients include approximately 120 accounting firms of all sizes, including three non-traditional accounting firms, and he has litigated cases ranging from large securities law class actions to suits brought by the RTC against accounting firms to claims by individuals charging errors in tax returns. He is regularly retained by professional liability insurers to defend cases. Mr. Goldwasser is well known in the accountants’ liability field, having written numerous articles on related topics and chaired dozens of seminars on accounting and accountants’ liability. He has also taught a course on accounting at Columbia Law School and has served on the AICPA’s Committee on Accountants’ Legal Liability and as the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Law and Accounting. In 1997, he became a member of the National Conference of Lawyers and Certified Public Accountants and has served as the American Bar Association’s appointed co-chair of the Conference. In each of 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 the editors of Accounting Today named him as one of the 100 most influential persons in accounting. In January 2004 he became the first non-CPA to become a member of the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board. Mr. Goldwasser has written extensively for the accounting profession. He serves as the editor of the legal liability department of the CPA Journal; in 1980, he was awarded the Max Block Award for the best article in that journal. His writings also include three manuals on loss prevention; chapters on risk management in the Guide to Managing an Accounting Practice (Practitioners Publishing Company) and the Guide to Legal Liability and Risk Management (Practitioners Publishing Company); and a chapter on accountants’ liability insurance in Liability Insurance (Matthew Bender). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

M. Thomas Arnold is Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He joined the College of Law in 1980 and has served as Associate Dean and as Acting Dean of the College of Law. Before entering legal education, the author was an attorney for Michigan Bell Telephone Company in Detroit, Michigan. Professor Arnold teaches primarily in the areas of civil procedure, contracts and business organizations. He has written a number of articles, primarily in the area of business organizations. The author received his A.B. and his M.A. from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan.