MONTREAL, Jan. 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Court of Appeal ruled
from the bench last Friday, dismissing the joint appeal of accounting
firms PricewaterhouseCoopers ("PwC") and Coopers & Lybrand ("Coopers"). The decision represents an important win for the plaintiffs in their
efforts to be compensated for monies lost as a result of the egregious
negligence of Coopers in the services it provided to the Montreal-based
company, Castor Holdings Ltd. ("Castor"). Today, with interest, these claims amount to more than $1 billion.
The decision also sends a message to the firms of PwC and Coopers and
its individual partners that the Quebec courts will not assist them in
their efforts to evade financial responsibility for judgments rendered,
and to be rendered, against Coopers or in their continued litigation
strategy which has been described by the courts as a scorched-earth war
As announced on January 9, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed
Coopers' Application for Leave to Appeal in the "test case" on
negligence (the action instituted by the late Peter Widdrington) and
confirmed Coopers' liability for its professional negligence and for
the resultant harm suffered by third parties who relied on its opinions
when deciding to invest in or lend money to Castor.
PwC has publicly taken the position that it has no responsibility
towards the Castor claimants. However, when PwC was formed in July
1998, a mere 2 months before the start of the Widdrington trial,
Coopers' assets were transferred to the new entity, purportedly leaving
its liabilities and contingent liabilities (including the Castor
claims) behind. The plaintiff in last Friday's appeal was the Trustee
in Bankruptcy for Castor, Richter Advisory Group Inc. ("Richter"), represented by the Montreal law firm of Fishman Flanz Meland Paquin
LLP ("FFMP") which also represents Widdrington as well as various Canadian and
foreign banks. Richter alleged that the transfer of Coopers' assets in
1998 was illegal, as it failed to comply with the applicable public
order provisions of the Civil Code of Quebec governing the sale of an
enterprise. PwC's and Coopers' attempts to block Quebec's jurisdiction
to rule on this matter were unsuccessful before both the Superior Court
and the Court of Appeal and these firms will now have to defend this
substantial action before the Quebec courts.
The legal team at FFMP is gratified that the Court of Appeal sent such a
clear message to PwC. FFMP's Avram Fishman describes the result as "an important victory for creditors and contingent creditors against PwC,
which appropriated the goodwill and clientele of Coopers while
attempting to avoid responsibility for the latter's liabilities."
SOURCE: Fishman Flanz Meland Paquin LLP
For further information:
Me Avram Fishman, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Me Mark E. Meland, email: email@example.com, Fishman Flanz Meland Paquin LLP, 1250 René-Lévesque Blvd. West, Suite 4100, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 4W8, tel: 514-932-4100.