Andersen Retiree Names Partners in Lawsuit
Retired Arthur Andersen LLP partner Gilbert Viets has amended a previously filed lawsuit against Andersen and the remaining Big Four accounting firms and Grant Thornton to include members of the Andersen executive team and all former Andersen personnel who were partners as of January 2002. Mr. Viets hopes to recover lost retirement payments as well as other damages.
Mr. Viets claims the accounting firms conspired to sell Andersen's assets at less than fair value and as a result, retired partners are not able to receive their fair share of assets in what remains of their retirement programs.
An article in the March 18, 2003 Wall Street Journal quotes Blair Fensterstock, a lawyer representing Mr. Viets, alleging that partners along with management and other firms, "looted" Andersen's assets "and left the corpse for the retired partners."
Mr. Viets has requested class-action status for the lawsuit. If granted, the suit would be on behalf of approximately 250 former partners.
The suit calls for damages of $200 million as compensation for lost retirement funds as well as $400 million in punitive damages.
A spokesperson for Andersen indicates that "we are disappointed that a retired Andersen partner would make these kinds of false allegations," and adds that the case has "no merit."