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September 30, 2023

Judge and Ex-Deloitte Switzerland Partner Weren’t on the Same Page Apparently

Remember that lawsuit we told you about last week filed by a now-former Deloitte Switzerland partner who thought he was wronged by the Big 4 firm for breaching his partnership contract and being labeled as manipulative, toxic, and a bully? Well, it’s already over.

David Joseph

Judge Philippa Whipple said in a London High Court ruling on Dec. 5 that Deloitte was within its rights under the firm’s partnership agreement to deny David Joseph’s request to have his firing reviewed at a meeting of all the partners, Law360 reported today.

Law360 wrote:

Joseph, who works in forensic services for Deloitte in Switzerland, had argued in his lawsuit that Deloitte was contractually barred from denying the request. But Judge Whipple found in favor of the accounting firm’s position that Joseph had missed the deadline to call a special meeting of the approximately 1,700 Deloitte equity partners.

“This claim has a narrow compass,” Judge Whipple said in her ruling, handed down on Thursday. “The issue is whether Deloitte is obliged to convene a partners’ meeting pursuant to the claimant’s request. I conclude that Deloitte is not so obliged because the claimant’s requests fell beyond the time permitted under [the agreement] and Deloitte is entitled to rely on the time limit,” she concluded.

An internal ethics panel, made up of senior Deloitte partners, investigated in late 2018 complaints made to the firm’s anonymous whistleblower hotline that Joseph’s behavior was, shall we say, unbecoming of a partner and that he was abusing the firm’s policy on expenses.

The senior Deloitte partners concluded last April that Joseph’s behavior wasn’t acceptable for an equity partner and unanimously voted to kick him out of the partnership.

In July, the firm’s board told Joseph he was being removed from the partnership on Jan. 31, 2020, and that he was being put on leave immediately.

Joseph, whose bad behavior (he allegedly caused one Green Dotter to be hospitalized with stress) was also looked at in 2015 by Deloitte but was just given a verbal warning to cut this shit out, claimed Deloitte “unfairly and unjustly” had refused him the right to appeal his dismissal because of a dispute with the firm over a seven-day deadline.

Apparently Joseph said he was really sick and couldn’t meet with the board, and Deloitte said something like, “Sorry you’re sick but these are the rules, so you’re SOL.”

Law360 reported:

Joseph did not appear before the board as a result of “significant ill health,” but he provided a detailed memorandum explaining his position before the next meeting, held on Oct. 2.

Deloitte had argued that Joseph’s claim was misconceived because it turned on a “plain misreading” of the provisions in the argument. The accounting firm admitted that the board’s decision was not communicated to Joseph by Oct. 9 as it had originally promised, but it disputed Joseph’s claim that it was required to inform him of the position by any specified time.

So Judge Whipple threw out Joseph’s suit, depriving him of his revenge, and now he will have the reputation as a Big 4 partner with a history of behavioral problems. At least he’s not alone.

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