Professional Liability

For many families, the COVID-19 pandemic will present ethical and moral dilemmas relative to the health, safety and well-being of our elderly parents and grandparents, made more vulnerable because of chronic medical conditions and weakened immune systems.
Continue Reading Negative Impacts of Social Distancing and Shelter in Place on the Elderly in the Context of Their Safety: Tough Decisions That Must Be Made

I vividly recall attending the Bronx Bar Association Dinner last fall when it was announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would ban pre-dispute arbitration provisions in nursing home admission agreements as of November 28, 2016. This news was relayed to me by a Bronx Supreme Court judge who had denied my very first motion to compel arbitration under such a provision. That denial ultimately was reversed on appeal.

Continue Reading Ding Dong the Arbitration Ban Is Dead!

Attorneys are accustomed to being called “ambulance chasers” or “sharks,” always interested in increasing their fees. Even if a lawyer reduces a bill for an unhappy client, that conduct may backfire if the client isn’t satisfied with the reduction. The attorney cannot later renege on the gratuitous fee discount or reduction, no matter what the reason. In a March 3, 2017, ruling, the Massachusetts Appeals Court − the commonwealth’s intermediate appellate court − held that a voluntary “professional courtesy credit” issued unconditionally to a client cannot be rescinded by a law firm when the client fails to timely pay its reduced bill. It just wouldn’t be “fair.”

Continue Reading Nice Attorneys Sometimes Finish Last

Business people shaking hands

If you are selling or acquiring an accounting practice, you need to read the AICPA’s new guidance “Transfer of Files and Return of Client Records in Sale, Transfer, Discontinuance or Acquisition of a Practice,” which clarifies the obligations of the selling and the acquiring parties and explains how to deal with clients that do not respond to the notification of the transaction.

Continue Reading Accountants M&A Alert: New AICPA Guidance on Transfer of Client Files

We have assisted many accounting firms in the creation or revision of their client engagement letters. They very often question the need to include certain provisions intended to limit their liability to their clients and sometimes ask whether the provision is even enforceable. Whether the provision will be enforced is uncertain due to the very limited case law addressing liability-limiting provisions in accountants’ client engagement letters, and there could be variations in enforcement from state to state. Nevertheless, we regularly advise our clients to include the provisions, even if enforcement is uncertain, because the provision might just be accepted and never challenged, thereby serving its purpose, even if a court strikes it down after a legal challenge.
Continue Reading Deloitte’s $500 Million Sentence