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Kenton Circuit Court

In this case, a businessman sued one of the largest accounting firms in America for their sale of an abusive tax shelter. The matter was resolved via bench verdict after the defendant denied negligence.

In early ________, accounting giant Grant Thornton enrolled the plaintiff Bill Y. in a tax strategy called "Lev301". The plaintiff, Bill Y., was president of Columbia Sussex Corporation, a Northern Kentucky-based hotel company. The Lev301 project was intended to be used to move clients’ offshore money into the United States with minimal tax consequences. This sale took place during a period in which the States Treasury was cracking down on perceived tax shelters. The plaintiff alleged that they were sold this product despite the defendant knowing that the IRS would characterize it as an abusive tax shelter. The defendant did not inform the plaintiff of this. This failure to notify and the firm’s tax advice were faulted in losing the family millions in taxes, penalties and interest.

The plaintiff filed suit in the Circuit Court of Kenton County, accusing the defendant Grant Thornton of selling them an abusive tax product. The plaintiffs Bill Y., his wife Martha Y. and the ________ William J. Yung Family Trust sought recovery of damages from the defendant for fraud and negligence. The plaintiff further asserted that the defendant’s actions had harmed his reputation, contributing to his ________ failure to secure licensure from the Missouri Gaming Commission. The defendant denied the allegation.

Over the course of six years of litigation and a month of trial, the plaintiffs made their case for Grant Thornton’s liability. The plaintiffs asserted that the defendants knew with near-certainty that the IRS would reject their Lev301 plan, but hid that information from their client. Further, after the plaintiffs expressed concern about the plan, the defendant falsely asserted that they had used the plan successfully with companies Proctor & Gamble Co. and General Electric.After seven weeks of trial, Judge Summe rendered a $________ million judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor, concluding that Grant Thornton had committed fraud and malpractice. The judge ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiffs $________ million in compensatory damages, and $80 million in punitive damages.

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