Darby Scott, Ltd. v Michael S. Libock & Co. LLC CPAs 2022 NY Slip Op 06746 [210 AD3d 582] November 29, 2022 Appellate Division, First Department discusses the question of continuous representation tolls to the statute of limitations in accounting malpractice cases. Often, the statute is calculated by reference to tax filings and tax years. However, there can be continuous representation for other accounting tasks.
“The record presents issues of fact as to whether the continuous representation doctrine applies to render plaintiff’s accounting malpractice claim timely—namely, whether the work by defendants’ representatives in September and October 2010 constituted a continuation of the services that are the subject of plaintiff’s claim, or at least constituted related remedial services (see Regency Club at Wallkill, LLC v Appel Design Group, P.A., 112 AD3d 603, 606-607 [2d Dept 2013]; Ackerman v Price Waterhouse, 252 AD2d 179, 205 [1st Dept 1998]).
Issues of fact also exist as to whether defendants breached their duty to plaintiff (see Berg v Eisner LLP, 94 AD3d 496, 496 [1st Dept 2012]). Although the engagement letters executed by the parties stated that defendants would perform bookkeeping and administrative tasks, neither party has offered an authoritative definition of the scope of these tasks. Nor has either party eliminated issues of fact as to whether the agreed-upon services were performed in a manner consistent with professional accounting standards (id.). Thus, the record presents issues of fact as to the scope of the engagement letters, and whether defendants’ alleged failure to notify plaintiff of recurring inventory and invoicing issues, or at least the full extent of those issues, constituted a breach of their duty (see Cumis Ins. Socy. v Tooke, 293 AD2d 794, 798 [3d Dept 2002]; cf. Italia Imports v Weisberg & Lesk, 220 AD2d 226, 226 [1st Dept 1995]).
Furthermore, issues of fact exist as to whether defendants proximately caused plaintiff’s damages. Even if it was plaintiff’s responsibility to track its inventory and implement internal controls, it is not clear as a matter of law whether at least some of plaintiff’s losses could have been avoided if defendants had fulfilled their duty to report known inventory and invoicing irregularities to plaintiff (see DG Liquidation v Anchin, Block & Anchin, 300 AD2d 70 [1st Dept 2002]). Plaintiff was not required to offer conclusive proof of the exact amount of damages it suffered in order to defeat an award of summary judgment in defendants’ favor. Concur—Gische, J.P., Kern, Gesmer, Rodriguez, Pitt, JJ.”