The jury issued the Dec. 13 verdict for MSouth Equity Partners after deliberating about seven hours following a two-week trial, said David Pernini, a partner at Atlanta’s Wargo French. French was part of the team that represented MSouth Equity Partners and nearly a dozen other minority shareholders.
Pernini said that, despite Alston & Bird’s efforts to shift blame to an outside accounting firm for the bad tax advice and resulting multimillion-dollar tax liability, the jury found the law firm 100% liable. That accounting firm was not a defendant in the trial.
Alston & Bird made the initial error in 2011, Pernini said. But in 2013, when the error and the potential tax liability was discovered by an outside accounting firm, Alston & Bird doubled down, sticking to its original advice.