Standard Chartered PLC v. Price Waterhouse

In Standard Chartered PLC v. Price Waterhouse, 190 Ariz. 6, 30, 945 P.2d 317, 341 (App. 1997) the Court applied Restatement 552 to a third party's claim based on allegedly false information supplied by an accounting firm. In that case a bank sued the accounting firm for damages incurred in a business transaction it entered based on allegedly negligent financial statements prepared by the accounting firm. Id. at 30-31, 945 P.2d at 341-42. Another company had retained the accounting firm to prepare its financial statements; the plaintiff bank alleged it relied to its detriment on the financials when it acquired the company. Id. The Court held a duty may be created when the maker of a statement knows the recipient "intended to supply the information for the benefit of a limited group or class of persons and the plaintiff is a member of that limited group or class." Id. at 32, 945 P.2d at 343 (citing Restatement 552(2)(a) and cmt. h). The Court held that "economic damage claims" of an independent auditor "were not so 'personal'" that they could not be assigned. In Standard Chartered, an independent auditor performed an audit for United Bank of Arizona, a bank acquired by Union Bancorp of California, a subsidiary of Standard Chartered, a British banking corporation. In that situation, the Court concluded that, unlike an attorney-client relationship, "the auditor-client relationship exists not merely for the benefit of the client, but also for the benefit of the shareholders and the public with whom the client may transact business." Id. at 17, 945 P.2d at 328