When Missouri passed a new law governing second mortgages back in 1979, the goal was to limit the burden of high-interest loans by restricting the fees that banks can charge borrowers. But after plaintiffs lawyers discovered the law more than a decade ago, it produced a predictable byproduct: class action litigation.

Now the party may be over. This week a judge in Kansas City sided with defense lawyers for a group of banks and dismissed one of the biggest remaining cases, ruling that the homeowners waited too long to sue. The decision comes weeks after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reached the same conclusion in a similar case.

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