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The Ohio State University




To whom does a professional owe a duty of care when providing professional services?1 The traditional answer, grounded in principles of contractual privity, is that professionals are liable for negligence to their clients, and perhaps to third-party beneficiaries of the client-professional relationship, but that their noncontractual obligations generally extend no further than a duty not to commit fraud.2 In the past two decades, however, courts have become increasingly willing to hold a wide range of professionals liable for their negligence to parties outside the chain of privity. 3 The accompanying growth of third-party4 lawsuits alleging professional negligence and in particular alleging negligent misrepresentation by accountants or attorneys, raises serious questions for professionals concerning their legal and ethical obligations to nonclients.

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