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In a decision that could spell doom for dozens of cases pending in California, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in an Oregon case that union trust funds don’t have standing to sue tobacco companies on antitrust and fraud grounds.

“The existence of the smokers, who were more direct victims of the alleged wrongful conduct and who can be counted on to vindicate the injury caused by the tobacco companies’ alleged wrongful conduct, weighs heavily in favor of barring the health trust fund actions,” wrote Judge Thomas Nelson.

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