Aug 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jury can't reach verdict in trial of Flint engineering companies

The Flint Water Plant tower stands in Flint, Michigan, on April 13, 2020. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on whether two engineering companies should bear some responsibility for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, leading the judge to declare a mistrial on Thursday, the AP reports.

The big picture: Flint residents were exposed to lead-contaminated water in 2014 and 2015 after the city switched its water source to the Flint River without treating it to reduce the corrosion of lead pipes.

  • The state reached a settlement with the victims in 2021, agreeing to pay $626 million.

State of play: Four people who were children during the water crisis sued two engineering companies — Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman — for not doing enough to get the city to treat the water or to return to another supplier, according to AP.

  • The companies, which performed work at the water plant, were not part of the massive settlement reached last year.

Driving the news: After months of trial, the jury began deliberations in late July.

  • Unable to reach a verdict, the jury said in a note that "For the physical and emotional health of the jurors, we don’t believe we can continue with further deliberations … further deliberations will only result in stress and anxiety," according to the Detroit Free Press.
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