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The Treasure Buried In Financial Crisis Litigation

May 30, 2013
Susan Beck
The American Lawyer

A rare phenomenon occurred in April. Two major credit rating agencies and Morgan Stanley & Co. agreed to settle litigation challenging the ratings of subprime investment products. (The amount of the settlement hasn't been disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal has reported it as $225 million.) The settlements marked the first time the credit rating agencies—which continue to deny any liability for their role in the financial crisis—agreed to settle such a case. Something else was unusual, too. These cases, which involved two special investment vehicles called Cheyne and Rhinebridge, were set for trial in May and had moved far enough along in pretrial proceedings to allow the plaintiffs to reveal significant new details about the ratings process.

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[The lead attorney on the Cheyne and Rhinebridge cases, Robbins Geller partner Daniel] Drosman says it's unfortunate that in so many other cases the discovery materials never see the light of day. "It's sad, in my view," he says. "Many of these cases deserve attention by the U.S. attorney's office and the Department of Justice."

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