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Date: 09-18-2001

Case Style: Steve Stroud v. Arthur Anderson & Co.

Case Number: 2001 OK 76

Judge: Lavender

Court: Supreme Court of Oklahoma

Plaintiff's Attorney: Kenneth W. Klingenberg and George H. Brown of Klingenberg & Associates, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; David B. Coffin, Dallas, Texas; Barry K. Roberts, Norman, Oklahoma; and Stanley M. Ward, Norman, Oklahoma, for the appellees/counter-appellants.

Defendant's Attorney: Kenneth N. McKinney, Robert D. Tomlinson and A. Michele Campney of McKinney & Stringer, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Philip Allen Lacovara and Joanne E. Benisch of Mayer, Brown & Platt, New York, New York, for the appellants/counter-appellees.

Edwin F. Garrison of Looney, Nichols & Johnson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Louis A. Craco and Richard L. Klein of Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, New York, New York; and Richard I. Miller, General Counsel of the American Institute of CPA's, New York, New York, for amicus curiae American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Description: Steve Stroud and Stroud Crop, Inc. [appellees] sued Arthur Andersen & Co. [Andersen] alleging the negligent performance of financial audits of Stroud Crop, Inc. over a several-year period. Appellees were awarded both compensatory and punitive damages on a jury verdict. Andersen appealed assigning error to the trial court's jury instructions and also contesting the sufficiency of the evidence to support the judgment. On appeal the Court of Civil Appeals reversed and remanded the case holding that it was fundamental error for the trial court to have instructed the jury on the "audit interference rule" instead of using the standard comparative-negligence jury instruction.

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At the conclusion of an eleven-day jury trial judgment was awarded to the plaintiffs on a jury verdict. Both compensatory and punitive damages were awarded. Andersen appealed. The Court of Civil Appeals [COCA] held that Jury Instruction No.16 which adopted the audit interference rule represented a fundamental-law error requiring the judgment's reversal. The case was remanded for a new trial.

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Click the case caption above for the full text of the Court's opinion.

Outcome: The court of appeals' judgment was vacated and the judgment of the district court was affirmed.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: None

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