A federal judge in Michigan plans on Thursday to appoint former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin
as a mediator in lawsuits over the Flint water contamination crisis.
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan also plans to appoint former Wayne County Chief Judge Pro Tem Pamela Harwood, along with Levin, as a “facilitative mediator,” according to a notice filed this week. Levin, a Democrat, was a U.S. senator from Michigan from 1979 to 2015.
Wayne Mason of Drinker Biddle & Reath in Dallas, who represents Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc., one of the engineering defendants sued by Flint residents, said the use of a neutral was a “normal evolution” in “a complex litigation matter such as this.”
“The facilitator is to try to see if there’s a resolution that makes any sense, and Judge Levy believes we should be exploring all of this while we’re defending the case,” he said.
Neither Levin nor Harwood responded to requests for comment.
Theodore Leopold, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and Michael Pitt, of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers in Royal Oak, Michigan, lead plaintiffs attorneys in the class action, said in a statement that they were encouraged by the appointments. “We hope that this is the first step by all of the parties to work together on a just resolution for the citizens of Flint.”
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