WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously refused to strike down a lower court ruling in a bankruptcy case, even though the parties had settled after a federal appeals court issued a judgment.

The high court's ruling in U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Co. v. Bonner Mall Partnership establishes that, while parties can settle the case that gave rise to a particular ruling, they cannot use the settlement to undo any precedent that the ruling creates, lawyers said.

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