· Read and understand these instructions.
· Read and understand the introductory materials distributed with these instructions:
1. Jay M. Feinman, “Liability of Accountants for Negligent Auditing: Doctrine,
Policy, and Ideology,” Florida State University Law Review, vol. 31, pp. 17-65
2. Blue Bell v. Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., 715 S.W.2d 408 (Tex. App. 1986).
● Conduct considerable additional research of Texas law and the law of third-party accountant
liability in New York and California.
● Conduct additional research of secondary authorities on the issue of accountant liability to third parties. Secondary authorities include law review articles or other pieces of scholarship written by practicing lawyers, law professors, judges, accountants, or social scientists.
● Write a 1200-1500 word position paper in which you take a position based on the following prompt:
Different states have different rules for holding accountants liable to
third parties (meaning non-clients) for negligent auditing. Some
states follow the Ultramares approach, some follow the Restatement
552 approach, and some follow yet other liability regimes. Begin
by reviewing Texas law on auditor liability to third parties and
compare it with the liability regimes in New York and California.
Next, consider what scholarly commentators (law professors,
accountants, etc.) have stated in their secondary authorities on this
issue. Finally, take a defensible position on what the law in Texas
ought to be as it relates to the liability of accountant auditors to third
parties for professional negligence. If you advocate for no change
in the law (the status quo), you must explain why the law as it
currently stands is appropriate and why objections to the current
approach are not convincing. If you advocate for a different legal
standard, you must explain why Texas should change its approach
and what the ramifications of that change are likely to be. Your
paper should clearly explain how your suggested approach fits
within the overall purposes of tort law, how it encourages auditors
to perform their functions competently, and the extent to which it
protects third-party users of audits from negligent or unscrupulous
● When you are citing a case in your paper, refer to it by the first word or words of the case name, i.e. Blue Bell. I expect you to cite at least ten cases from at least five jurisdictions. At a minimum, among the jurisdictions you choose to analyze you must include Texas, California, and New York.
● When you are citing a secondary source, such as a law review article, refer to it by the name of the author, i.e. Jay Feinman, followed by the page number. I expect you to cite at least five
different secondary sources.
● List all your primary and secondary authorities in a “works cited” page at the end of your paper.
Group the authorities together into two sections: 1) cases, and 2) articles.
● You may complete this assignment either by yourself or in groups of not more than three
students. However, all students who work on the assignment together will receive the same grade for the project, regardless of their level of contribution. All students who work on the assignment together must be identified on the first page of the final product.
I will grade your written materials based on the following criteria:
1. Have you written a sufficiently lengthy and well-though-out essay? It must be 1200-1500 words.
2. How close to perfection is your grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.?
3. How coherent, consistent, and logical is your position?
4. How well have you incorporated a discussion of the existing Texas law on accountant third party liability into your decision? In other words, you must cite actual judicial opinions in your position paper and make extensive use of the existing law in your analysis.
5. How well have you compared the current law in Texas to third-party negligent auditing law in California and New York?
6. Have you taken a firm, identifiable position on what the law in Texas should be?
7. How well have you anticipated potential objections to your position? In other words, because multiple legal positions are represented in American law on auditor liability to third parties, you must acknowledge that positions contrary to your ultimate conclusion are plausible yet explain why the objections to your position are unconvincing.
8. How extensively have you discussed the secondary authorities (journal articles, etc.) in arriving at your defensible conclusion?
9. You may complete this assignment in groups of three students or less. All students who complete the assignment in groups will receive the same grade, regardless of their level of contribution to the assignment. There is no requirement that you complete the assignment in a group, however, and I presume that some students will want to complete it by themselves.
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