The doctrine of continuous representation cannot be invoked in situations where accountants are providing “separate and discrete” annual audits to clients and not more extensive accounting services, the State of New York Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Thursday.

The decision in Williamson v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP , 64, had been anxiously awaited in the accounting industry since the Appellate Division, 1st Department, ruled last year that PricewaterhouseCoopers had a continuous relationship with two failed hedge funds it audited annually.

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