GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina judge late Thursday dismissed one of nine shareholder lawsuits seeking to halt the planned merger of Wachovia Corp. and First Union Corp.

First Union had asked Judge Ben F. Tennille at North Carolina Business Court in Greensboro to throw out the case, arguing that Yvonne B. Winters and other investors failed to satisfy state standards for a shareholder suit. The Charlotte, N.C., company also argued that legal precedents protect it from legal challenges to routine business decisions, including mergers.

A hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Greensboro on motions to dismiss seven more shareholder suits that have been consolidated as a single case in the business court. Another suit brought against Wachovia, by Jerry Krim, a Virginia investor and frequent filer of shareholder lawsuits, is awaiting further hearings in U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

The business court also plans a hearing Tuesday on a variety of motions in the lawsuits that SunTrust Banks Inc., Wachovia, and First Union have filed against one another.

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