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Snyder, others can appeal court decision requiring their testimony in Flint water crisis bellwether case

Former governor Rick Snyder appeared via Zoom for a pretrial hearing in Genesee County's 67th...
Former governor Rick Snyder appeared via Zoom for a pretrial hearing in Genesee County's 67th District Court. He is charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty in relation to the Flint Water Crisis.(WILX/Genesee County 67th District Court)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM)- Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other defendants in the Flint water crisis case are able to appeal a ruling requiring them to testify, according to court documents.

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

The judge granted a motion and an ordered interlocutory appeal of her own denying motions to halt the subpoenas filed by the defense.

The interlocutory appeal is an appeal of a court decision issued during proceedings but does not end the proceedings.

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 to subpoena the defendants 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.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four children who claim 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.