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Briglia Hundley Blog

Federal Appeals Court Rules That Accountant Has Right to Accounting Expert in PCAOB Interviews and Testimony

On March 23, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the PCAOB infringed on a former EY partner’s right to counsel by unreasonably barring his accounting expert from an interview conducted by the Division of Enforcement and Investigations (“DEI”). Mark E. Laccetti was allowed to bring an EY attorney with him to the interview, but DEI barred Laccetti’s accounting expert from the interview.  The Court held that the Board’s exclusion of the EY accounting expert was arbitrary and capricious. The Court vacated the order of the SEC and remanded with instructions for the SEC to vacate the Board’s underlying order suspending Laccetti for two years and imposing a $85,000 civil money penalty. This case is significant, because going forward, the Board “must allow a witness the assistance of an accounting expert when such an expert could assist counsel at an investigative interview.” The Court suggests that the Board may still be able to “exclude a company-affiliated accounting expert when no other company-affiliated personnel are allowed at the interview..

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