Flint Water Plant in Flint.
An engineering firm hired to evaluate Flint’s tainted water system can be held liable in a lawsuit filed on behalf of four unnamed children who were exposed to the contaminated water, a judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy denied Veolia North America’s request to be dismissed from the lawsuit, which alleges the company failed to do enough to stop lead from leaching into the water.
In a 2015 contract with Flint, Veolia was responsible for evaluating “the quality of Flint’s water” and had a “duty to avoid foreseeable physical harms arising out of that undertaking,” the judge said.
Flint hired Veolia to advise the city about using the Flint River as its drinking water source.
According to the lawsuit, the contaminated water caused neurocognitive in the children.
The lawsuit is separate from a $626 million settlement with Flint residents.
"There is sufficient evidence in this record to permit a reasonable jury to find that VNA causally contributed to plaintiffs’ injuries by negligently failing to issue an urgent warning to the city of Flint about the impending danger to the health of Flint residents," Levy wrote. “Moreover, as has been set forth above, harm to Plaintiffs—residents of Flint and foreseeable users of Flint’s drinking water—was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of VNA’s alleged negligence.”
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