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Fletcher Fixed Income Alpha Fund, Ltd., et al. v. Grant Thornton LLP, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-085-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   15-P-830                                        Appeals Court   FLETCHER FIXED INCOME ALPHA FUND, LTD., & another[1]  vs.  GRANT THORNTON LLP & others.[2]     No. 15-P-830.   Suffolk.     January 6, 2016. – July 14, 2016.   Present:  Cypher, Grainger, & Meade, JJ.     Auditor.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss.  Jurisdiction, Nonresident, Long-arm statute.  Due Process of Law, Jurisdiction over nonresident.  Negligence, Misrepresentation, Proximate cause.  Proximate Cause.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January 17, 2014.   Motions to dismiss were heard by Janet L. Sanders, J.     Rachel S. Fleishman, of New York (Philip Y. Brown with her) for the plaintiffs. Grant J. Esposito, of New York, for Grant Thornton LLP. William M. Connolly, of Pennsylvania, for EisnerAmper LLP & another. Jonathan D. Cogan, of New York, for SS&C Technologies, Inc.     MEADE, J.  The plaintiffs, Fletcher Fixed Income Alpha Fund, Ltd. (Alpha), and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Retirement Fund (MBTARF), Alpha’s sole shareholder, appeal from the dismissal of their claims for accounting malpractice and negligent misrepresentation against certain entities that audited and administered Alpha, for failing to discover the fund manager’s fraud.  The claims against the defendants, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton), and EisnerAmper LLP and EisnerAmper (Cayman) Ltd. (collectively, EisnerAmper), who served as auditors, were dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, a Superior Court judge ruling that the plaintiffs failed to show that their claims arose from the defendants’ transaction of business in Massachusetts.  The claims brought by MBTARF against SS&C Technologies, Inc. (SS&C), a former Alpha administrator, were dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the judge reasoning that Alpha was insolvent by the time SS&C was hired, thereby negating the element of proximate cause. Pending their appeal to this court, the plaintiffs settled with EisnerAmper.  As to the remaining defendants, the plaintiffs principally argue that in deciding the issue of specific jurisdiction, the judge should have taken into account a broader range of contacts between Grant Thornton and Massachusetts, and should have considered Grant Thornton’s knowledge that the audit reports would be sent to a Massachusetts entity.  MBTARF also maintains that the judge held it to an incorrect pleading standard in dismissing its claims against SS&C for failure to allege facts to support causation.  We affirm. Background.  We summarize the undisputed facts from the judge’s February 23, […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm

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