Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 87A½ the following section:-
Section 87A¾. When an individual or firm licensed to practice public accountancy under section 87B or 87B½ is held liable for damages in a civil action arising from or related to its provision of services involving the practice of public accountancy, in which action a claim or defense of fraud is raised against the plaintiff or another party, individual or entity, and that plaintiff or other party, individual, or entity has been found to have acted fraudulently in the pending action or in another action or proceeding involving similar parties, individuals, entities and claims, and the fraud was related to the performance of the duties of the individual or firm licensed to practice public accountancy, the trier of fact shall determine: (a) the total amount of the plaintiff's damages, (b) the percentage of fault attributable to the fraudulent conduct of the plaintiff or other party, individual or entity contributing to the plaintiff's damages, and (c) the percentage of fault of the individual or firm in the practice of public accountancy in contributing to the plaintiff's damages. Under the circumstances set forth in this section, individuals or firms in the practice of public accountancy shall not be required to pay damages in an amount greater than the percentage of fault attributable only to their services as so determined. This section shall not apply where a finding is made that the acts of the individual or firm in the practice of public accountancy were willful and knowing. In such an action involving the practice of public accountancy in which a claim or defense of fraud is raised, if there is pending a separate action or proceeding in which the alleged fraudulent conduct of the same party, individuals or entity against whom the claim or defense is raised is to be adjudicated or determined, the court may stay, on its own or by motion, the action involving the practice of public accountancy until the other action or proceeding is concluded or the issue of fraudulent conduct is determined in that other action.
SECTION 2. This act shall apply only to conduct occurring after its effective date.