The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Everyone knows by now the Arthur Andersen verdict has been reversed by the Supreme Court. Here is a link to the opinion.

It's interesting that this reversal boils down to arguments about the grammatical construction of one sentence, and that the function of the Supreme Court is to parse out the meaning of ten or fifteen words. I guess this is just a preview of what's to come over the next three years...

From my time doing audit and tax work, the additional nexus problem cited by the Court was particularly familiar. The main reason firms have document retention policies is to cull out any extraneous information that could be used against them or their clients later on. For example, we were constantly reminded never to let partner review notes remain in tax files, since they would be a road map to the problem points in a return for an IRS auditor. Under the position taken by the government, and rejected by the Court here, those notes would have had to have been preserved, since an audit of any one return was foreseeable.

Another lesson from this to take into law school: justice may eventually be served, but simply too late to do anyone any good. For good or ill, AA is dead and buried - and there is nothing this ruling can do to bring it back.


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