The Changing Landscape of Auditors’ Liability
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CitationHonigsberg, Colleen, Shivaram Rajgopal, and Suraj Srinivasan. "The Changing Landscape of Auditors' Liability." Journal of Law & Economics 63, no. 2 (May 2020): 367–410.
AbstractWe provide a comprehensive overview of shareholder litigation against auditors since the passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA). The number of lawsuits per year has declined, dismissals have increased, and settlements in recent years have declined. Our study asks why. Because we find that the likelihood an auditor is sued following a severe restatement has significantly declined in recent years, it does not appear that the decline can be attributed solely to increases in audit quality. Instead, we consider whether the recent wave of Supreme Court cases limiting the scope of Rule 10b-5 against private actors may have led to the decline. To study this possibility, we focus on the Supreme Court’s 2007 and 2011 rulings in Tellabs v. Makor and Janus v. First Derivative, respectively. These decisions affected Rule 10b-5 litigation in different ways; Tellabs related to pleading standards, while Janus related to liability rules. Our analysis provides strong evidence that the higher liability standards imposed by Janus significantly reduced auditors’ liability exposure, but we find only limited evidence that the pleading standard imposed by Tellabs had a significant effect.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37366864
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