NEW YORK, April 2 Standard & Poor's redoubled
efforts on Tuesday to move more than a dozen lawsuits charging
the ratings agency with fraud to federal from state courts,
arguing that the various state cases involve federal
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen is leading a
coalition of attorneys general that brought state cases against
the McGraw Hill Cos Inc unit in February.
Those cases were announced the same day that the Justice
Department said it was seeking $5 billion in its own civil
lawsuit against S&P.
The rating agency wants to move the lawsuits by 16 U.S.
states and Washington, D.C., to the federal level, hoping to
limit liabilities as it defends itself against accusations of
inflating credit ratings to try to win fees from clients.
The government argued last week against moving the cases.
However, S&P parent McGraw-Hill said on Tuesday that the
government not only failed to disclose its own interest in the
state cases last week, but that the various state cases turn on
federal rules and regulations, including Securities and Exchange
The company also argued that moving the cases to one court
would help avoid a "patchwork of potentially overlapping and
Legal experts said earlier that S&P might struggle to move
the state cases, given recent similar cases.
The lawsuits allege that S&P misled investors into believing
its ratings were objective and not tainted by conflicts of
interest. The ratings were mainly for complex fixed income
products that imploded in the financial crisis.
Moody's Corp unit Moody's Investors Service and
Fimalac SA's Fitch Ratings - S&P's main rivals - were
not hit with similar federal lawsuits.
McGraw-Hill shares lost more than a quarter of their value
during the week the suits were announced. They closed on Monday
at $51.55 a share and were at $51.85 in midday trading.