The Recorder reports that
changes proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board that would force public companies to disclose more about the risks of litigation have caused a howl of protest among general counsel and corporate and defense lawyers.
Under the revised rules for FASB Statement No. 5 (pdf), the threshold for reporting the potential loss from a lawsuit would be lowered from “probable” to anything but “remote.” Public companies would also have to estimate just how much legal threats might cost and the likely outcome. They’d also have to disclose more details about the underlying litigation and the reasoning behind their predictions.
In-house and big-firm lawyers say the changes would force companies to lay their litigation strategies out for their opponents to see, potentially lead to a waiver of attorney-client privilege, and lead to more securities fraud cases if hard-to-predict litigation turns out differently.