Deloitte has another lawsuit on its hands that is seemingly back from the dead. After last week’s revival of the Washington Mutual shareholders’ lawsuit, a suit in New York has gained new life after Deloitte initially won a dismissal.
The plaintiff in the case, Symbol Technologies, is proving tenacious:
…the panel found that Symbol Technologies had sufficiently alleged that the “continuous representation” exception to the statute of limitations and the company’s amended complaint “trigger[ed]” the “adverse interest” exception to the in pari delicto doctrine.
“Symbol’s pleading is sufficient to establish that the parties mutually contemplated that Deloitte’s work and representation for each audit year would continue after the issuance of the audit opinion/report and, therefore, the continuous representation doctrine applies,” Justice Leonard B. Austin wrote for the 4-0 panel in Symbol Technologies v. Deloitte & Touche, 2008-06642.
He later added, “In its amended complaint, Symbol set forth sufficient allegations that members of its senior management committed accounting fraud for their own benefit and totally abandoned its interest, thereby triggering the adverse interest exception.”
Nothing too fancy. Just a good, old-fashioned case of senior management fraud not being detected by the auditors:
Symbol’s lawsuit against its former auditing firm stems from an accounting-fraud scandal at Symbol that culminated with the technology giant agreeing to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $37 million and shareholders an additional $100 million.
The SEC had charged Symbol, a Long Island, N.Y.,-based supplier of mobile information systems, and 11 of its former executives with numerous fraudulent accounting practices that together overstated the company’s reported revenue for the fiscal years of 1998 through 2001 by more than $230 million and its pre-tax earnings by more than $530 million.
The fraud resulted in overpayments to Symbol’s senior management of more than $100 million.
At least eight former Symbol executives have pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from the fraud. The company’s former chief executive, Tomo Razmilovic, remains a fugitive, living in Bussevik, Sweden.
Symbol sued Deloitte & Touche, now known as Deloitte, in November 2005, alleging the “Big Four” auditor had failed to detect the fraud. The company’s complaint does not specify the amount of damages sought.
The amount of damages being sought by Symbol hasn’t been disclosed but you’d figure Deloitte could cough up $137 mil just to put the company back to square one. But no, Deloitte is as equally determined, saying ‘the action is without merit and intends vigorously to defend this matter’.
Sorry. With a sub-par year in revenues and breaking ground on the new Animal House, Big D can’t spare the change. We’ll see you in another ten years when this thing is finally settled.
Symbol Technologies’ Massive Malpractice Action Against Deloitte Is Reinstated [New York Law Journal vi Law.com]