Bank of America, N.A. v. Knight, No. 12-2698 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Bank of America lost approximately $34 million when the Knight companies went bankrupt. BOA sued, claiming that Knight’s directors and managers looted the firm and that its accountants failed to detect the embezzlement. The district court dismissed. The accountants invoked the protection of Illinois law, 225 ILCS 450/30.1, which provides that an accountant is liable only to its clients unless the accountant itself committed fraud (not alleged in this case) or “was aware that a primary intent of the client was for the professional services to benefit or influence the particular person bringing the action” The court found that BOA did not plausibly allege that the accountants knew that Knight’s “primary intent” was to benefit the Bank in alleging that the accountants knew that Knight would furnish copies of the financial statements to lenders. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, noting BOA’s choice not to pursue its claims in the bankruptcy process.