Big Four firm Deloitte & Touche and international firm Grant Thornton lost their bid to dismiss a class-action suit brought against them by investors of now-bankrupt Italian dairy conglomerate Parmalat.A federal judge in New York recently ruled that the accounting umbrella organizations couldn't insulate themselves from the actions of local affiliates in Italy that audited the company before its collapse from financial mismanagement and fraud in 2003.

Both Deloitte and Grant Thornton contended that they did not audit Parmalat, and that they are legally separate entities from their various member firms. They argued that their Web sites indicate the fact that they are separate entities, and disclaim liability for the actions of their member firms.

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