Pending before the court are the motions of defendant, Grodin, Chotiner & Balmuth, for judgment as a matter of law and for summary judgment pursuant to Rules 50 and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Although the Pennsylvania courts have long held that a plaintiff may not state a claim for professional negligence for lack of privity with the defendant, Landell v. Lybrand, 264 Pa. 406, 107 A. 783 (1919), this rule does not necessarily preclude liability in a case of fraud. See, e.g., Sharp v. Coopers & Lybrand, 457 F. Supp. 879, 888 (E.D.Pa. 1978), aff'd, 649 F.2d 175 (3d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 938, 71 L. Ed. 2d 648, 102 S. Ct. 1427 (1982); see also, Wilder, et al. v. Williams, et al., 1989 WL 67821 (W.D.Pa. 1989). Although the courts in Sharp and Wilder were not dealing specifically with a claim for intentional misrepresentation, both courts imposed liability despite a lack of privity for claims of fraud against the defendants.
It bears emphasizing that we have made no dramatic retreat from the privity rule under Pennsylvania law. The accountants here were retained by the sellers for the specific purpose of the sale of Pittsburgh Plumbing & Heating Supply Corporation to plaintiffs. Defendants were aware of the purpose of the review and they knew that plaintiffs would rely on the financial statements in determining the exchange ratio of stock. The role of Grodin, Chotiner & Balmuth in the transaction results in a relationship with plaintiffs that approaches that of privity and defendant's motion for summary judgment will be denied.