Our consultants apply their technical expertise and experience to bring clarity to a wide range of complex accounting issues. We draw from our extensive network of accounting experts—including experienced audit partners, standard setters, and academics—to meet the unique needs of each case.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Christine M. Hammer

Certified Public Accountant;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research

Christine Hammer is a certified public accountant with expertise in cost accounting, intellectual property, and lost profits. She specializes in applying accounting and economic theory to issues arising in business litigation. Her work most often involves assessing complex cost allocations, “but-for” cost and profit estimates, and alternative damages analyses.

Antitrust and competition

In the area of antitrust and competition, Ms. Hammer has addressed issues related to merger efficiencies, predatory pricing claims, and lost profit damages in industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, telecommunications equipment, and coal slurry pipelines. She has served as an expert in cases involving anticompetitive practice allegations under both U.S. federal and California law. Ms. Hammer testified as the U.S. government’s efficiencies expert in the proposed $37 billion merger between health insurers Aetna and Humana.

Intellectual property

Ms. Hammer has provided expert testimony in intellectual property matters involving infringement of patents, trademarks, and copyrights. She has testified in cases related to several industries, including software, computer hardware, search engines, medical devices, telecommunications, and other consumer products.

General business litigation

In other litigation matters, Ms. Hammer has testified on damages, loss causation, and cost analyses. These cases include issues related to the earn-out provisions of a contract, lost revenue from a federal land acquisition, and mutual fund profitability.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Douglas F. Prawitt

LeRay McAllister / Deloitte Foundation Distinguished Professor of Accountancy,
Director, School of Accountancy,
Marriott School of Business,
Brigham Young University

Douglas Prawitt is an expert in financial accounting and reporting, auditing, and internal control over financial reporting (ICFR). Professor Prawitt has particular expertise with the implementation and evaluation of ICFR in accordance with the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Framework.

Professor Prawitt serves on the COSO governing board. As a board member, he helped to develop the 2013 COSO Framework, which public companies use to evaluate and test systems of ICFR. During his tenure as a member of the Auditing Standards Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Professor Prawitt addressed issues related to internal control, auditor reporting, analytical procedures, and audit sampling. He has consulted with practicing auditors on policy, methodology, and engagement issues for more than twenty-five years.

Professor Prawitt has received awards for his research, including the Wildman Medal, which recognizes leading-edge contributions to the theory and practice of accounting. He has published articles in The Accounting ReviewJournal of Accounting ResearchContemporary Accounting ResearchCPA Journal, and the Journal of Accountancy, among others, and has served as editor and on editorial boards for several research journals. Professor Prawitt has also coauthored numerous books, including two leading college auditing texts.

An award-winning educator with more than two decades of experience, Professor Prawitt has been recognized multiple times for excellence in teaching. At Brigham Young University he teaches courses on financial auditing and business assurance, financial accounting, and professional judgment and decision-making.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Lynda H. Schwartz

Professor of Practice,
Isenberg School of Management,
University of Massachusetts Amherst;
Former Partner, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services,
Ernst & Young LLP

Lynda Schwartz is an expert in forensic accounting, data analytics, and damages, with a focus on fraud examination and risk assessment. Ms. Schwartz has more than thirty years of forensic accounting and auditing experience, analyzing economic, financial, causation, and accounting issues in the context of litigation claims and fraud allegations. Her work includes account reconstruction, lost profits, bankruptcy and business solvency, alleged embezzlement, and financial accounting. She has provided testimony at deposition, trial, and arbitration, as well as providing responses to regulators.

As a former partner in Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services practice, Ms. Schwartz has led high-profile investigations involving regulatory compliance, whistleblowers, and allegations of fraud, corruption, and bribery. She has experience with discovery, complex financial modeling and data analytics, reconstruction of financial records, and damages calculations. Her industry expertise includes healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, financial services, and retail.

Ms. Schwartz is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She is also certified in financial forensics (CFF) and is both a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA). She serves on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Joint Trial Board, which adjudicates certain matters of professional discipline. In 2021, the AICPA named Ms. Schwartz a Forensic & Litigation Services (FLS) Volunteer of the Year for her significant contributions to the practice and profession of forensic accounting and valuation.

At the Isenberg School of Management, Ms. Schwartz directs the forensic accounting and data analytics curriculum and teaches courses in forensic accounting and fraud examination. She has authored both practitioner and peer-reviewed publications. She served on the Update Task Force for the current edition of COSO’s Fraud Risk Management Guide. Ms. Schwartz is a contributing author to The Litigation Services Handbook (John Wiley & Sons) and to the AICPA publication Understanding the Forensic Technology Landscape.

Our extensive network includes top experts from academia and industry.

Thomas J. Linsmeier

Professor and Thomas G. Ragatz Accounting and
Law Distinguished Chair,
Wisconsin School of Business,
University of Wisconsin–Madison

A noted expert on financial accounting and reporting, Thomas Linsmeier served for ten years as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). As a member of the FASB, Professor Linsmeier voted on many accounting standards updates, including the new standards on revenue recognition, leases, and the measurement of credit losses (referred to as CECL).

Professor Linsmeier previously held roles as chair of the Financial Accounting Standards Committee and as academic fellow and special consultant to the Office of the Chief Accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He has served as an expert in matters involving segment reporting and the consolidation of Variable Interest Entities (VIE). Professor Linsmeier has also testified about derivatives, risk management, and other financial accounting matters at Congressional hearings.

Professor Linsmeier is a prominent scholar in the areas of accounting for financial instruments, derivatives, and risk management. His research has explored the usefulness to investors of fair value and market risk management disclosures. Professor Linsmeier’s articles have been published in leading journals, including The Accounting Review, the Journal of Accounting Research, and Management Science.

An award-winning educator, Professor Linsmeier previously chaired the Department of Accounting and Information Systems at Michigan State University. He has held professorial appointments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa. Professor Linsmeier is also a former president of the Financial Accounting and Reporting section of the American Accounting Association (AAA). The AAA has honored him with its Outstanding Accounting Educator Award.

Accounting Capabilities

Cornerstone Research investigates complex fraud and concealment schemes on behalf of corporate clients and/or their counsel as well as provides consulting and expert testimony in resulting litigation.

Our consultants have experience with a range of auditor liability issues in the context of litigation and SEC and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) matters. We have addressed auditor independence, the responsibilities of management and auditors, and the nature, scope, and purpose of an audit or quarterly review. We have determined whether audit and review procedures complied with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards and PCAOB standards and assessed the effectiveness of audits of internal controls over financial reporting.

In addition, we have addressed auditors’ responsibilities regarding fraud and required communications with management and the board. Our experience also includes audits of broker-dealers, now under the PCAOB’s authority for inspection as a result of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Cornerstone Research has experience with litigation related to accounting allegations in breach of contract matters and disputes arising after a merger or acquisition. Cornerstone Research and our experts have provided consulting and expert witness testimony in matters involving post-closing working capital adjustments, material adverse change claims, accounting fraud-related claims, adequacy of due diligence claims, and earn-out disputes. In addition, Cornerstone Research and our experts have provided services related to valuation issues for public and private companies involved in merger-related disputes.

In cases with accounting allegations, we have evaluated class certification, market efficiency, loss causation, and damages issues. We also have used accounting data to estimate possible settlement outcomes.

We have addressed these issues in a wide range of securities cases, including those involving publicly traded equities, debt securities, derivatives, and other complex financial instruments. We have worked on breach of contract cases and cases arising from failures of privately held firms. In Rule 10b-5 and Section 11 and 12 cases, we have experience in analyzing restatements, developing “but-for” financial statements, analyzing the materiality of financial statement items, and evaluating information available to market participants to determine whether the accounting issues had a material effect on share prices.

Cornerstone Research has provided consulting and expert testimony in investigations, litigation, and regulatory matters involving complex cost estimation and profitability analyses. In connection with this work, we have addressed both liability and damages issues. We have determined appropriate measures of lost profits and disgorgement of unjust enrichment in intellectual property matters.

We have provided cost justifications in predatory pricing cases, contract disputes, cost-plus reimbursement matters, and litigation involving claims of excessive mutual fund fees. Our cost accounting skills are also used in non-litigation matters to assist clients in determining break-even prices as well as appropriate cost allocation methods in assessing fully allocated costs.

Cornerstone Research has advised counsel and worked with testifying experts to address a wide variety of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) compliance and forensic accounting issues. In evaluating GAAP compliance, we have addressed a broad range of topics that include revenue recognition, fair value measurements, the timing and amount of asset write-offs, and contingent liabilities.

We have prepared “but-for” financial statements in the context of financial restatements and in light of accounting allegations, evaluated alleged weaknesses in internal controls, assessed materiality, and evaluated the adequacy of accounting disclosures contained in offering documents and other Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

In evaluating allegedly fraudulent activity, we have reconciled payment and cash flow information, reconstructed client data, and determined liquidity positions. We have also addressed a range of issues in the context of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allegations.

We have consulted with attorneys in disputes with the U.S. government and commercial litigation involving a variety of tax controversy issues. For example, we have evaluated the fundamental requirements for tax-advantaged transactions to be sustained if challenged by the IRS or by the courts. We have also analyzed complex company structures and derivative transactions to determine whether there was sufficient potential in these entities for economic benefit.
In cases that have proceeded through trial, Cornerstone Research has performed analysis to determine the non-tax-related business purposes of structured financings. We have worked to determine the economic characteristics of corporate financing instruments and whether they should be treated as debt or equity for tax purposes.

In addition, we have evaluated the responsibilities and duties of taxpayers and tax advisors, along with the importance of the representations and assumptions underlying tax-advantaged transactions. We have also calculated the expected value of tax-advantaged transactions given the contemplated tax benefits, up-front costs, risk of audit, chance of disallowance if audited, and potential penalties.

In commercial litigation, we have analyzed the tax accounting treatment of net operating loss carryforwards and other deferred-tax assets. In the precedent-setting Selectica case, we analyzed whether a shareholder rights agreement (poison pill) may have sustained the value of the net operating loss carryforwards. In mergers and acquisitions, Cornerstone Research has provided analysis and valuation of the tax implications for both buyers and sellers. We have analyzed corporate and individual tax treatments of employee stock options related to accounting allegations. In estate tax disputes, we have valued privately held companies and analyzed the appropriate tax treatment of partnerships.

Regulators routinely challenge proposed mergers on grounds that they will reduce competition and risk harm to consumers. In a failing firm defense, merging parties claim that a transaction would not be anticompetitive, as the assets of the acquired firm would exit the market absent the merger, thereby harming consumers. Experts with financial statement analysis or accounting experience are uniquely qualified to analyze the financial position of the firm and assess the merits of failing firm defenses. Cornerstone Research has advised counsel and supported testifying experts in matters involving failing firm defenses, both on behalf of regulatory agencies and the merging parties.

Featured Cases

Featured Publications

10 April 2024

Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Activity

These reports examine trends in accounting and auditing enforcement activity that publicly disclosed by the SEC and the PCAOB.

10 April 2024

Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Enforcement Activity—2023 Year in Review

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) expanded its enforcement activity to the highest level since 2017.

3 April 2024

Accounting Class Action Filings and Settlements

This Cornerstone Research report compares accounting case filings and settlements to overall securities class action trends.

3 April 2024

Accounting Class Action Filings and Settlements—2023 Review and Analysis

The number of securities class action filings involving accounting allegations increased by nearly 10% in 2023 compared to 2022.

28 February 2024

SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Activity—Year in Review: FY 2023

The SEC expanded its accounting and auditing enforcement activity in fiscal year 2023, while monetary settlements dropped for the second consecutiv...

14 June 2023

Trends in PCAOB, SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Actions

Elaine Harwood discussed accounting and auditing enforcement at the PCAOB and SEC with Thomson Reuters on June 14, 2023.

26 April 2023

SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Activity—Year in Review: FY 2022

In fiscal year 2022, the SEC publicly disclosed 68 accounting and auditing enforcement actions, a 55% increase from the prior fiscal year.

12 April 2023

Accounting Class Action Filings and Settlements—2022 Review and Analysis

The number of securities class action filings involving accounting allegations increased slightly in 2022 but remained below historical average.

22 February 2023

Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Enforcement Activity—2022 Year in Review

PCAOB disclosed 29 disciplinary actions involving the performance of an audit and/or a firm’s system of quality control, up 61%.

15 April 2022

Accounting Cases Involving SPACs

The Accounting Class Action Filings and Settlements—2021 Review and Analysis report features a spotlight section on accounting-related SPAC cases.

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