Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Ruth Epps


Using 629 observations of U.S. publicly listed firms with internal control related frauds from 2000 to 2006; this study investigates the change in auditor litigations in the Post- Sarbanes Oxley, Section 404 period. To the extent the conditions of the internal control in place are inadequate or non-existent, the possibility of the occurrence of internal control related fraud heightens. Thus, the inability of auditors to detect a financial statement misstatement due to internal control fraud in a timely manner exposes auditors to litigation (Barra, 2010; Heninger, 2001; Caplan, 1999). This situation was prevalent in the recent notable corporate failures that resulted in auditors being named as potential defendants. The present research finding indicates during the Post-SOX 404 period, the probability of auditor litigation due to internal control fraud increases. However, no support was shown for further increases in the likelihood of auditor litigation when both types of fraud occur in the Post-SOX 404 period. These results suggest an increase in the enforcement of accountability by the SEC, and should motivate auditors towards reassessing their audit procedures. Furthermore, the results indicate the probability of auditor litigation due to internal control fraud decreases for accelerated filers, and similarly, the probability of auditor litigation decreases for firms with management voluntary disclosures reflecting effective internal control. The overall result of this study indicates the likelihood of auditors being litigated increased in the Post-SOX 404 period, and auditors are more likely to be litigated when both types of fraud occurs simultaneously. This result further supports the argument for meritorious claims and the procedural justice theory.


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