FLINT, Michigan (AP) – An engineering firm accused of bearing some responsibility for Flint’s lead-contaminated water in 2014-15 has settled a lawsuit with four families, months after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in August. Could reach
The details of the settlement between the families and Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, known as the LAN, were not publicly disclosed in federal court in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
LAN’s attorney Wayne Mason told MLive.com, “The parties were able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, subject to court approval, to avoid the significant costs, expenses and time of another lengthy trial.”
The families sued Lain and another company, Veolia North America, accusing them of not doing enough to get Flint to treat the highly corrosive water or urge it back to a regional water supplier.
Flint’s water became contaminated because water drawn from the Flint River was not treated to reduce its effects on lead pipes. Citing the cost, the manager appointed by the then Govt. Rick Snyder switched to the river in 2014 while waiting for a new pipeline to Lake Huron.
The trial focused on the effects of lead on engineering firms and four children, not all Flint residents. The outcome of the case was being closely monitored as other cases against Veolia and LAN are pending.
Veolia’s lawyers said the firm was hired for a short time in the middle of the crisis, not before the spigot was turned. Lan said an engineer has repeatedly recommended that Flint test the river’s water for weeks to determine if treatment would be necessary.
The families who settled with Lan are still suing Veolia, and a new trial is set to begin in February.
Veolia and LAN were not part of the landmark $626 million deal involving property owners, thousands of residents, the state of Michigan and other parties.