The following are five independent situations.
1. The audit firm, Weaver and Jones, LLP, received a subpoena for its documentation related to the audit of Westbrook Corporation's financial statements. The Firm has refused to respond, alleging that the documentation is considered privileged communication between the firm and its client.
2. Spencer Cullen, CPA, is a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that Cullen should be held legally liable for gross negligence for a fraud involving the valuation of securities included in the financial statements of one of his clients. Cullen was uncertain how to establish a correct valuation for the securities and decided to rely on the price estimation supplied by management.
3. Joanie Brogan is a partner in an audit firm that operates as a limited liability partnership (LLP). The firm has been sued for an alleged audit failure related to an audit engagement handled by a different partner in the firm. While Joanie had no involvement in the engagement, she is concerned that the plaintiff may successfully sue her seeking restitution from her personal assets.
4. A lawsuit has been filed against Carter Hockaday, CPA, charging him with constructive fraud in the audit of Broughton Company's financial statements. Hockaday has examined all the audit documentation in his files and reviewed all relevant auditing standards. He is convinced that his audit fully complies with standards of the profession but is uncertain what he should use as his primary defense tactic.
5. Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January 2012. A recent blog suggested that Kodak's external auditors should be sued for failing to qualify the firm’s opinion on the financial statements issued before the bankruptcy, even though the fair presentation of the financial statements is not being disputed.
Analyze each situation and provide your assessment of the potential resolution of each scenario, including potential liability for the auditor or audit firm involved.