Washington (Dec. 17, 2002) -- The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by former Big Five firm Andersen to have the high court intervene in a class-action shareholder suit.According to Dow Jones, the High Court vetoed Andersen’s appeal to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired on litigation filed by investors of a failed New Jersey shoe import concern.

Jasmine Ltd., which is now in liquidation, had gone public in late 1993. But two years later, the company found itself the subject of lawsuits by shareholders alleging that company officers had lied about the health of the company.

Andersen had audited Jasmine's financials through Sept. 30, 1993, and was named in a class-action securities fraud complaint filed by a Jasmine investor.

A federal court disqualified that plaintiff from serving as the class representative, so the investors’ attorneys picked a new representative. However, Arthur Andersen claimed in court the investors didn't move fast enough to get the new class certified.

A trial judge agreed with Andersen. However, the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said time hadn't expired, citing the problems related to certifying a class representative. A lower court ruled that the class-action proceeding could be kept alive beyond the normal limits if there were problems with the class representative.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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