Suit and countersuit

The state and Standard & Poor's get litigious:

S&P filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper on Monday, asking the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee to issue an injunction prohibiting the state from pursuing legal action against the credit rating agency.

S&P, which is owned by McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., received a letter from Cooper threatening a lawsuit under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. S&P is also anticipating a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice stemming from the agency's high pre-recession credit ratings for mortgage companies, according to Reuters. Those credit ratings, which some believe to have been inflated, played a key role in the financial crisis, according to a January 2011 Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report.

On Tuesday morning, the state announced that it was joining the Justice Department's action.