November 26, 2020

Big 4 Lawsuits: Karen Ward vs. EY, Choppies vs. PwC, Floridians vs. Deloitte Consulting

EY, Female Ex-Principal End Lawsuit Over Bias Arbitration Costs [Bloomberg Law]
Have we mentioned before how much Big 4 firms love it when claims against them by former employees go to arbitration?

EY and a female former principal allegedly subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation, and other sex discrimination throughout her time with the firm agreed to end her lawsuit alleging high costs of arbitrating the dispute prevented her from vindicating her rights, federal court records show.

Karen Ward’s challenge to the allocation of costs under her employment agreement with EY was previously rejected June 23 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ward said her share of the arbitration costs were 41,000 times higher than what she would be required to pay if she could sue in court.

Click here for our coverage of Karen Ward’s complaint against EY.

PwC Hit by $40 Million Lawsuit From Botswana Supermarket Chain [Bloomberg]
As Loni Prinsloo of Bloomberg writes, the lawsuit criticizes PwC for being too tough on a client:

Two senior executives at Botswana supermarket chain Choppies Enterprises Ltd. are suing former auditors PwC for 653 million rand ($40 million) for not signing off on the company’s 2018 accounts, which led to a share price collapse.

Choppies Chief Executive Officer Ramachandran Ottapathu and Executive Director Ismail Farouk allege that PwC didn’t complete the audit in part to pressure the company to hire PwC director Rudi Binedell as head of finance, according to a statement issued on behalf of the directors. The duo filed the lawsuit at the High Court in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital.

Choppies said in September 2018 that it was working with PwC to assess a number of past accounting practices, including around previous acquisitions, that needed independent verification and legal analysis. That would delay the release of earnings, the retailer said.

Choppies is now audited by Mazars.

State of Florida, Deloitte gain win in unemployment lawsuit [Orlando Weekly]
Here’s the latest on one of the ongoing Deloitte Consulting dramas in Florida:

In at least an initial win for the state and Deloitte Consulting, a Leon County circuit judge has dismissed a potential class-action lawsuit stemming from major problems with Florida’s unemployment-compensation system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the case might not be finished: Circuit Judge John Cooper gave attorneys for the plaintiffs an opportunity to file an amended complaint, which would refuel the legal fight.

Cooper’s order, dated Wednesday [Sept. 30], came more than three months after a hearing in which lawyers for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and Deloitte argued that he should dismiss the case. The three-page order did not detail reasons for the dismissal, saying only that Cooper “grants the motion to dismiss on the grounds argued by the defendants.”

Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in April after hundreds of thousands of coronavirus-caused unemployment claims overwhelmed the state’s online CONNECT system. The Department of Economic Opportunity runs the unemployment system, while Deloitte was a contractor that helped put CONNECT in place in 2013.

Related articles:

QOTD: Florida Governor Is Not Impressed with Deloitte’s Handiwork
Deloitte Is Giving Unemployed Gig Workers In Some States Something Extra to Worry About
Deloitte Sued By Unemployed Ohioans Who Are Unhappy Their SSNs and Addresses Were Visible For All to See
Big 4 Lawsuits: Illinois Resident vs. Deloitte, Gridsum Investors vs. PwC, Ryan LLC vs. EY

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1 Comment

  1. On the EY case: I don’t understand. Whenever leadership presents to us, they say how inclusive, respectful and totally against sexism they are. But as soon as there is a real case of alleged wrongdoing, the firm does insist on some legal clause that does not allow the victim to have a court check whether her rights were violated.
    What’s that word ? Ah, right: Hypocrits

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