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Plaintiffs suing Merrill Lynch & Co. for allegedly selling toxic mortgage-backed securities obtained class-action status this week, allowing more investors a chance to sue to recover financial losses. The case's lead plaintiffs include the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, the Wyoming State Treasurer and the Connecticut Carpenters Pension Fund. The lead plaintiffs asked the court to grant class-action, so more parties who questioned the securities could attempt to obtain relief. The U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York granted  class-action status Friday. The litigation stems from Merrill Lynch's sale of mortgage pass-through certificates that the plaintiffs allege were riddled with "untrue statements and material omissions," according to court records. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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