A second contractor said Thursday that it had reached a $25 million settlement for its role in the lead-tainted water scandal in Flint, Michigan, which authorities say caused learning disabilities in dozens of children and other medical problems among adults in the majority black city.
The class-action litigation settlement includes payments of $1,500 for individual minors, according to Boston-based Veolia North America. The company says the settlement will resolve claims filed on behalf of more than 45,000 Flint residents.
In July, engineering firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newman said in a court filing that a confidential settlement 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 did not receive the same treatment as water previously supplied by a Detroit-area supplier. As a result, lead leaked throughout the vast plumbing 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 would later find high levels of lead in the blood of some Flint children. Flint families sued Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, accusing both companies 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 trial this month in federal court but was stayed pending final approval of its settlement agreement, the company said.
Issues for the 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 week-long 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 if those recommendations had not been almost completely ignored by responsible government officials,” the company said Thursday in a statement. “The 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% liable for the lead contamination and that Lockwood, Andrews & Newman should be held 50% liable for the lead contamination. 25%, with public officials being 25%. the balance.
The mistrial was declared based on claims filed on behalf of four Flint children. Another trial is scheduled for October on behalf of seven more Flint children, according to their attorney, Corey Stern.
The settlement announced Thursday by Veolia North America does not affect the October trial, Stern said.