BUSINESS
12/13/2010 10:22 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Credit Ratings Agencies' Reports Ruled To Be Protected Speech

Ratings by Moody's Investors Service Inc., Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings Ltd. described as "wildly inaccurate" in a $1 billion lawsuit are protected speech, a California judge said in a tentative ruling.

Judge Richard Kramer in San Francisco state court said yesterday that the companies' ratings of three structured investment vehicles that the California Public Employees' Retirement System lost money on are a form of speech about an issue of public interest that is protected under a state law designed to fend off cases meant to chill public debate.

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