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The Flint water bellwether trial is now in the hands of the jury

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A federal jury has begun its deliberations in a highly anticipated lawsuit stemming from the Flint water crisis.

The lawsuit is seeking damages on behalf of four children exposed to Flint’s lead tainted drinking water. They’re suing two engineering firms hired as consultants on the city’s water system.

At issue is whether Veolia North America (VNA) and Lockwood Andrews & Newnam (LAN) breached the standard of care for a professional water engineer and if the children suffered damages because of the companies’ actions.

In a closing statement, an attorney for LAN called the plaintiff’s case “an invention.”

Attorney Wayne Mason also called the plaintiffs’ attorneys “tricksters,” which drew a slight rebuke from U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy who said the statement violated the federal court’s civility rules.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Corey Stern told the court he’s “been called worse.”

The jury is not expected to return a quick decision.

The trial began in February. And now, jurors must review the testimony for 43 witnesses, as well as numerous exhibits presented during the past five months.

After meeting briefly Thursday, the jury will take a long weekend. They plan to return to work Monday.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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