Former Andersen partner Gilbert Viets amended the lawsuit first filed last year in an Indiana state superior court, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The suit alleges that the defendants conspired to sell Andersen’s assets on the cheap. The complaint points the finger of blame at a defendant “class” – all Andersen partners as of January 2002.
Blair Fensterstock, a lawyer representing Viets, said partners along with management and other firms, “looted” Andersen’s assets “and left the corpse for the retired partners.”
Originally named as defendants were:
- Deloitte & Touche LLP
- Ernst & Young LLP
- Grant Thornton LLP
- KPMG LLP
- BearingPoint Inc., formerly KPMG Consulting Inc.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Viets, a 35-year Andersen veteran, is seeking class-action status on behalf of roughly 250 former partners. He is asking for compensatory damages in excess of $200 million to cover lost retirement payments and punitive damages exceeding $400 million, according to the latest complaint.
Other firms picked up Andersen partners and clients last year as the company collapsed – an early Enron scandal casualty. Andersen suffered from a dwindling pool of assets after its March 2002 indictment and later conviction, on a criminal-obstruction-of-justice charge, which triggered a torrent of client losses. The conviction effectively put Andersen out of business.
An Andersen spokesman told the Journal that Viets’ case has “no merit,” adding “we are disappointed that a retired Andersen partner would make these kinds of false allegations.” Andersen is appealing its criminal conviction.