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When the creditors of bankrupt companies draw up lists of litigation targets, auditing firms are often right there at the top. So it was for the creditors trust of the bankrupt insurer, Frontier Insurance Group. The trust, represented by John McKetta III of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, alleged that Ernst & Young underestimated the reserves Frontier needed to hold, making the company look healthy when it was actually insolvent. It claimed $140 million in damages, plus interest.

But E&Y decided to make a stand. It refused to chip up, and instead headed for a jury trial before White Plains, N.Y., federal district court Judge Cathy Seibel. On Wednesday, after 12 days of trial, jurors needed only two hours to exonerate the auditor.

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