In an important decision concerning Attorney Schneiderman’s investigation of Exxon Mobil for potential state law violations, including under the Martin Act, the Honorary Barry R. Ostrager ordered Exxon Mobil and its outside auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”), to comply with a subpoena issued by the Attorney General’s office in August 2016.
The subpoena seeks documents related to PWC’s work for Exxon.
On October 14 the Attorney General moved to compel production by PwC after Exxon Mobil asserted that it would not permit PwC to provide certain documents to the Attorney General’s Office. Exxon Mobil based its refusal to comply on a Texas statute that Exxon Mobil asserted creates an “accountant-client privilege.”
After noting that “all parties agree that this Court is the proper forum” to hear challenges to the AG’s subpoena, the New York Court ruled that Exxon Mobil’s interpretation of the Texas statute is “flawed,” and stated that the Texas statute in no way precludes PwC from producing the documents requested by the Attorney General’s office.
The Court also stated that New York law, rather than Texas law, governed the dispute. The Court ordered PWC and Exxon Mobil to comply with the subpoena expeditiously.