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Engineering firm to pay $25 million to settle claims in Flint Water Crisis class action lawsuit

Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
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A private engineering firm will pay $25 million to settle its part of a Flint water crisis lawsuit.

Plaintiffs in the class-action case said Veolia North America failed to recommend the proper steps to keep lead out of the city's drinking water.

Attorney Steve Morissey said the Veolia money brings the total value of settlements related to the Flint water crisis to more than $650 million.

But he said unfortunately, no one in Flint has gotten a check for damages yet from these cases, more than nine years after the crisis.

Morrissey said the case has been dragged out, in part by Michigan's unusual class action laws, in part by the state of Michigan's paperwork requirements for claims (the state is also a defendant), and in part due to objections to the settlement that were filed by attorneys not otherwise involved in the long-term legal actions for reparations.

He hopes the state will learn from the situation.

"It doesn't serve anyone for cases to take nine years to get to a resolution," he said. "So hopefully we figure out ways to deal with complex litigation and complex problems like that that gets to results more quickly."

In a statement, VNA said it welcomed the opportunity to put the class litigation behind it.

"VNA stands by its work in Flint. VNA made good recommendations, including a crucial one on corrosion control, that would have helped the City, had those recommendations not been almost entirely ignored by the responsible government officials. As the facts clearly showed, the water crisis was a failure of government, from (then-Governor Rick) Snyder to the bureaucrats on the ground," the statement said.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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