Today the Circuit Court of Genesee County in Flint, Michigan distributed the first Case Management Order to govern the Flint Water Litigation. The Case Management Order states that it “applies to all cases filed in the Circuit Court of Genesee County in which a Plaintiff alleges personal injury, property damage or economic loss as a result of exposure to the City of Flint’s drinking water.” See Case Management Order (“Order”) at ¶ 1.1. The Order was entered by the Honorable Richard B. Yuille, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge, after a process that included motions and briefs filed by numerous law firms, as well as several court hearings.
Judge Yuille appointed Corey Stern of Levy Konigsberg LLP as “lead counsel” for the Plaintiffs with the responsibility “for coordinating the prosecution of Plaintiffs’ claims and coordinating the pretrial proceedings on behalf of all Plaintiffs.” See Order at ¶¶ 2.1-2.2. Mr. Stern and his firm have filed individual cases on behalf of more than 1,000 children who have been lead poisoned and suffered other injuries from exposure to Flint Water. Mr. Stern’s firm, Levy Konigsberg, has decades of experience in litigating lead poisoning cases and is working together with Flint-based Robinson Carter & Crawford PLLC. Among Mr. Stern’s clients is community activist, LeeAnne Walters, whose children have suffered personal injuries as the result of the contaminated Flint Water. Mr. Stern said today, “We are grateful that Judge Yuille has entered this Order that will help organize and streamline the Flint Water Litigation. We are ready to work with all parties to move these cases forward in the most efficient manner possible.”
The Court appointed Wayne B. Mason of Sedgwick LLP as “lead counsel” for the Defendants. Mr. Mason and his firm represent Defendant Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C. (“LAN”), and other related defendants. See Order at ¶ 2.3. Mr. Stern’s clients allege that LAN and other defendants acted negligently in performing professional engineering services for the City of Flint, which resulted in the contamination of the City’s water.
The Order adopts a system of “Bellwether Trials” used in many mass-tort cases which is intended to aid in ultimately resolving the cases. The Order states: “The parties and the Court have determined that the nature and volume of this litigation makes it suitable for the use of bellwether trials, the purpose of which is to select a small number of cases to be fully developed and tried to verdict, with the expectation that their results, though not binding on other litigants, can be used by all interested parties to assist in evaluation of the other cases for purposes of settlement or trial.” See Order at ¶ 15.1.