Audit malpractice cases often hinge on compliance with technical audit standards and the effective presentation of such to judges and juries. To triers of fact adjudicating such matters, understanding the rules governing how auditors practice, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards or GAAS,1 can seem like trying to decipher a foreign language. For example, recent litigation involving MF Global Holdings and PWC was described as follows:
The trial testimony was document- and regulation-heavy, leading U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero to observe that the jury of five women and five men might be ‘enormously confused’ and to suggest a mid-trial summary of the case to help jurors understand the issues.2
Armed with an understanding of GAAS and how they are applied in practice, attorneys can focus their strategy on elements of audit malpractice claims that will ring true with judges and juries.
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