Jury Finds PricewaterhouseCoopers Liable for Negligent Misrepresentation

Sued in civil court by former clients of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a jury returned with findings that PwC is liable for negligent mispresentation, but not as to the allegations of racketeering, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty. Read the full story by clicking on this link to Law.com.

Negligent misrepresentation is similar to fraud in that the end result is the misleading of one party. However, where negligent misrepresentation and fraud differ is in the intent of the defendant. Under the theory of negligent misrepresentation, a defendant may be found liable if he unintentionally misled the plaintiff. Under a fraud cause of action, a defendant may be found liable if he intentionally misled the plaintiff.

The amount of damages the jury awarded to the plaintiffs was $10 million, however, the plaintiffs alleged damages in the amount of $126 million, an amount far greater than what the jury awarded.

An interesting question about this case is who actually prevailed in this lawsuit? The plaintiffs claim that they “won,” and they did in fact receive an award of damages. However, the defendants stated that they were “very pleased with the verdict,” because of the findings of non-liability for the other allegations. The answer may not necessarily be cut and dry.

There is no indication of any settlement negotiations in this case, but there likely were some settlement attempts during the litigation of this suit. It would be interesting to see what offers and counter-offers were made during the failed settlement proceedings. Consider this: if the highest settlement amount offered by PwC was over $10 million, the question of who won this suit would be even more difficult to answer.

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