Judge: Puerto Rico to remain shielded from creditor lawsuits

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A federal judge has upheld a U.S. law that bars creditors from filing lawsuits against Puerto Rico until February as the island pushes to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt.

The ruling issued late Wednesday offers a temporary reprieve to a U.S. territory struggling to emerge from a decade-long economic crisis as it runs out of funds.

Judge Francisco Besosa urged Puerto Rico to use the next three months to negotiate with creditors, warning that government officials should not abuse or let that privilege go to waste. His ruling responds to a lawsuit filed by creditors seeking to recuperate their investments after the government defaulted on several multimillion-dollar bond payments in recent months.