August 12, 2021

Case against Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam is separate from $641.2 million settlement

One of the many lawsuits regarding the Flint water crisis is closer to moving forward.

This lawsuit involves two engineering firms that aren’t part of the $641.2 million settlement for victims -- Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam.

Flint officials hired Lockwood in 2013 to provide advice on the city’s switch to drawing drinking water from the Flint River, which started in April 2014. The city hired Veolia in 2015 to help address problems with Flint’s water before widespread lead contamination was discovered.

The class action lawsuit claims both firms neglected their duties and provided “disastrously bad advice” while ignoring red flags that should have led them to discover corrosion problems in Flint’s water system.

Flint left the Detroit water system in April 2014 to use Flint River water, which was much more corrosive. Due to inadequate treatment, the water ate away the protective lining inside lead-based water pipes and allowed microscopic bits of lead to flake off into home water supplies.

The law firms of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, Susman Godfrey and the NAACP filed the lawsuit against Veolia and Lockwood in 2016. The judge denied motions to split the classes of claimants up by minors, property owners and businesses.

Neither engineering firm joined the $641.2 million settlement, which is moving forward in federal court, so this lawsuit is continuing separately. The settlement fund includes $600 million from the state of Michigan, $20 million from the city of Flint’s insurers, $20 million from McLaren Flint Hospital and $1.2 million from Rowe Professional Services.

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