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Flint bellwether trial judge denies motions by former officials

Former Gov. Rick Snyder
Former Gov. Rick Snyder(WNEM)
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:27 AM EDT
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WNEM) - A federal judge denied motions to quash pending trial subpoenas for multiple former officials with key roles in the Flint water crisis.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy denied three motions in the Flint bellwether trial to quash pending trial subpoenas filed by former Gov. Rick Snyder, Richard Baird, Darnell Earley, Gerald Ambrose and Howard Croft.

Each individual gave testimony in this case without appealing to their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Each defendant now claims it would be, as the court states, “futile” to appear at trial because they intend to plead the Fifth Amendment as to “any conceivable question” that could be asked. The motions were denied by the court.

The bellwether trial will determine if two engineering companies were negligent during the Flint water crisis. The companies are Veolia North America LLC, Veolia North America Inc. and Veolia Water North America Operating Services LLC, which are referred to as VNA, and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam P.C., Lockwood Andrews & Newnam Inc. and Leo A. Daly Company, which are referred to as LAN.

Four children filed the lawsuit, claiming their injuries were caused by their exposure to lead in Flint’s drinking water in 2014 and 2015.

Jury trial in the Flint water bellwether case is expected to last for months and involves testimony from various witnesses. The. U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan calls it a bellwether trial because it could predict how other plaintiffs might fair.