S&P Credit Ratings Are Protected Speech, Suit Says
By Matthew Heller
Law360, New York (February 6, 2013, 10:17 PM ET) -- Standard & Poor's Financial Services launched a preemptive legal strike against South Carolina on Tuesday, asking a judge to declare that the state cannot sue it for allegedly inflating its ratings of mortgage-backed securities because its credit-rating activities are protected speech.
S&P filed a complaint for declaratory relief on the same day the U.S. Department of Justice and 13 states sued it in separate cases related to the MBS meltdown in 2007. According to the DOJ and similar state complaints, the rating agency knowingly overlooked the...