LOS ANGELES — U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ ruling in the Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy that pensions are not in a special class above other creditors could bolster movement already made in that direction in the San Bernardino, Calif. bankruptcy.

The Detroit judge’s decision is likely already impacting San Bernardino because the parties were in mediation talks led by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregg Zive of Reno, Nev., hammering out the term sheet for the bankruptcy plan when “a sea change in opinion on whether pensions could be impacted” was handed down, said Karol Denniston, an authority on the California bankruptcies and partner in the San Francisco office of law firm Schiff Hardin.

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