Judge in Flint water case talks to lawyers, seals transcript
DETROIT (AP) — A judge handling a trial over liability for lead contamination in Flint’s water sealed the transcript of a hearing with lawyers, a conference held this week while jurors were on an 11-day break from deliberations.
A docket entry indicates the hearing over “trial related matters” was held by video conference Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy ordered any transcript sealed from the public “until further order of the court.”
Lawyers representing four children are suing two engineering firms that performed work for Flint at a time when the Flint River was used for drinking water.
“I don’t have any information that I can provide to you,” federal court spokesman David Ashenfelter said Thursday when asked about the transcript.
A judge speaks through orders, opinions and remarks from the bench, he said, and Levy “is not speaking” further at this time.
Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, known as LAN, are accused of not doing enough to get the city to treat the highly corrosive water or to urge a return to a regional water supplier. Lead leached from old pipes and contaminated the system in 2014-15.
The engineers deny liability and instead point to disastrous decisions made by state and local officials.
The jury’s first week of deliberations during the monthslong trial was July 25-28. Jurors will return to federal court in Ann Arbor on Aug. 9 after a break that had been planned, Ashenfelter said.
Veolia and LAN were not part of a landmark $626 million settlement involving Flint residents, the state of Michigan and other parties.
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