An engineering firm hired to evaluate Flint’s spotted water system could be held accountable in a lawsuit filed on behalf of four unnamed children exposed to the polluted water, a judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy rejected Veolia North America’s request to be denied the lawsuit, claiming the company did not do enough to prevent 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 damage that occurred as a result of this undertaking,” the judge said.
Flint hired Veolia to advise the city on using the Flint River as its source of drinking water.
According to the trial, the contaminated water caused neurocognitive activity in the children.
The lawsuit is separate from a $ 626 million settlement with Flint residents.
“There is sufficient evidence in this record to allow a reasonable jury to find that the VNA causally contributed to the plaintiffs ‘damages by negligently failing to issue an urgent warning to the city of Flint about the impending danger to Flint residents’ health,” Levy wrote. “Furthermore, as has been stated above, damage to plaintiffs – residents of Flint and predictable users of Flint’s drinking water – was a reasonably predictable consequence of the alleged negligence of the VNA.”
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