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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a group of homeowners in North Carolina can’t sue a company that contaminated their drinking water because a state deadline has lapsed.

The justices ruled 7-2 on Monday that state law strictly bars any lawsuit brought more than 10 years after the contamination – even if residents did not realize their water was polluted until years later.

The high court reversed a lower court ruling that said federal environmental laws should allow the lawsuit against electronics manufacturer CTS Corp. to proceed.

The decision is a setback for the families of thousands of former North Carolina-based Marines suing the federal government in a similar case for exposing them to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The government is relying on the same state law to avoid liability.

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