NATIONAL NEWS

Firm announces $25M settlement over role in Flint, Michigan, lead-tainted water crisis

Feb 1, 2024, 9:29 AM

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A second contractor said Thursday that it has reached a $25 million settlement over its role in Flint, Michigan’s lead-contaminated water scandal that officials say caused learning disabilities in scores of children and other medical problems among adults in the majority Black city.

The class-action litigation agreement includes payments of $1,500 for individual minors, according to Boston-based Veolia North America. The company says the agreement will resolve claims made on behalf of more than 45,000 Flint residents.

In July, the engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newman said in a court filing that a confidential deal was reached with residents in federal court. Like Veolia North America, Lockwood, Andrews & Newman had been accused of being partially responsible for the water crisis in the city about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

Flint, which was under state-appointed managers, used the Flint River for water in 2014-15, but the water wasn’t treated the same as water previously supplied by a Detroit-area provider. As a result, lead leached throughout the vast pipe system.

The state was sued because environmental regulators and other officials missed opportunities to fix Flint’s water problems during the lead crisis. Flint returned to a regional water supplier in the fall of 2015.

Doctors later would find high levels of lead in the blood of some children in Flint. Flint families sued Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, accusing both firms of not doing enough to get Flint to treat the highly corrosive water or to urge a return to a regional water supplier.

Veolia North America had faced a trial this month in federal court, but that has been suspended pending final approval of its settlement agreement, the company said.

The issues for a jury would have included whether Veolia North America breached care and, if so, whether that breach prolonged the crisis. The company has said it was hired by the city to conduct a one-week assessment 10 months after Flint switched to Flint River water.

“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,” the company said Thursday in a release. “VNA had no power over these decisions. VNA never operated the Flint Water Plant.”

During closing arguments in a 2022 case that ended in a mistrial, attorneys for the children argued that Veolia North America should be held 50% responsible for lead contamination and that Lockwood, Andrews & Newman should be held 25% responsible, with public officials making up the balance.

The mistrial was declared on claims made on behalf of four Flint children. Another trial is scheduled in October on behalf of seven other Flint children, according to their attorney, Corey Stern.

The settlement announced Thursday by Veolia North America does not affect the October trial, Stern said.

National News

Associated Press

4 Dallas firefighters injured as engine crashes off bridge, lands on railway below

DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas Fire-Rescue engine crashed off an expressway bridge on Sunday and landed on a railway track below, injuring four firefighters, officials said. The crash happened just after 6 a.m. on the I-345 Expressway, Dallas Fire-Rescue Capt. Robert Borse said. He said it was not immediately known Sunday what caused the accident […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Police: 3 killed, 6 wounded in ‘exchange of gunfire’ during gathering in Philadelphia; no arrests

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three men were killed and at least six other people wounded in an early morning shootout at a gathering in west Philadelphia, authorities said. Police said more than 100 people were present in the Carroll Park neighborhood when gunfire broke out just after 2 a.m. Sunday. Police said their preliminary information indicated […]

2 hours ago

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., takes a moment to talk with reporters as he arrives at the Democratic Se...

Associated Press

Sen. Joe Manchin, an independent of West Virginia, urges Biden to withdraw from race

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat turned independent, urged President Joe Biden on Sunday to drop his reelection bid and focus on the remaining months of his presidency. “I came to the decision with a heavy heart that I think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation,” the West Virginia […]

3 hours ago

Members of the U.S. Secret Service look on as Republican presidential candidate former President Do...

Associated Press

The Secret Service acknowledges denying some past requests by Trump’s campaign for tighter security

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — The Secret Service now acknowledges it denied some requests by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign for increased security at his events in the years before the assassination attempt on him at a recent rally. In the immediate aftermath of the July 13 attack, the law enforcement agency had denied […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Russia says it scrambled fighter jets to intercept U.S. bomber planes over Barents Sea

Russia said Sunday it scrambled fighter jets to intercept two U.S. military long-range bomber aircraft that approached the Russian border over the Barents Sea in the Arctic. “The crews of the Russian fighters identified the aerial target as a pair of U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers,” Moscow’s defense ministry wrote on the social media […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle attends a news conference, June 4, 2024, in Chicago...

Associated Press

Secret Service chief noted a ‘zero fail mission.’ After Trump rally, she’s facing calls to resign

WASHINGTON (AP) — When safeguard the American president and other dignitaries, she said she would talk to agents in training about the “awesome responsibility” of their job. “This agency and the Secret Service has a zero fail mission,” Cheatle, who is now director of the agency, said in 2021 during a Secret Service podcast called […]

4 hours ago

Firm announces $25M settlement over role in Flint, Michigan, lead-tainted water crisis