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The private plaintiffs lawyers who represented Texas in its $17.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry voted to drop their claim to a 15 percent contingent-fee contract with the state, their lawyer announced Nov. 19.

According to a motion filed with U.S. District Judge David Folsom in Texarkana, the five main tobacco lawyers — John O’Quinn, Walter Umphrey, Wayne Reaud, John Eddie Williams and Harold Nix — and their hired consultant, Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole of South Carolina, voted 5-1 in favor of dropping the right to enforce the contract. The motion did not identify the dissenting lawyer.

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