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In re Flint Water Cases

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

December 12, 2019

In re Flint Water Cases. This Order Relates To: ALL CASES



         The Court held a status conference regarding its pending Flint water litigation on December 10, 2019. The Court now orders as follows:

         I. In re Flint Water Cases Discovery

         During the status conference, several Defendants raised concerns with the current allocation of time during certain depositions. As an interim measure, the Court allotted one additional hour during depositions to both Plaintiffs and Defendants.[1] Parties must meet and confer to propose a new procedure to allocate deposition timing in instances where parties think they need more time than is currently allocated. If the parties reach an impasse, the party requesting more time must file a motion by December 23, 2019. Responses will be due on December 30, 2019, and this Court will issue a decision before January 6, 2020.

         The Court will hold a discovery telephone conference call on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 2:00pm. To request that a discovery issue be added to the agenda, parties must follow the discovery dispute protocol outlined in the Second Amended Case Management Order. (ECF No. 998, PageID.25963-PageID.25965.)

         II. Individual Flint Water Cases

         The Court will issue an order to show cause in all individual Flint Water Cases as to why certain Defendants should not be dismissed.[2] These Defendants are: Jeff Wright, [3] Daniel Wyant, [4] Dayne Walling, [5]Nick Lyon, [6] Edward Kurtz, [7] Liane Shekter Smith, [8] Nancy Peeler, [9] Robert Scott, [10] and Eden Wells.[11] Agreeing to dismiss certain Defendants will not waive Plaintiffs' right to appeal this Court's earlier decisions as to that Defendant. Plaintiffs in these cases will have until January 8, 2020 to respond to the order to show cause. Defendants may file a reply, if needed, no later than January 29, 2020.

         III. Motions to Dismiss in Alexander v. Flint and Chapman v. Snyder

         The Court heard oral argument on the pending motions to dismiss in Chapman v. Snyder (No. 18-cv-10679, ECF No. 49, 50, 51) and Alexander v. Flint. (No. 16-cv-13421, ECF No. 150.) Plaintiffs' counsel in Chapman did not appear at this status conference. However, the Court was informed by Defendants' counsel that the parties reached an agreement on their pending motions to dismiss, and so the parties are instructed to file any necessary documents by Friday, December 13, 2019. Any additional motions to dismiss in this case must be filed by January 10, 2020.

         In Alexander, the Court heard argument on both VNA Defendants' motion to dismiss (No. 16-cv-13421, ECF No. 150) and Alexander Plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint. (No. 16-cv-13421, ECF No. 156.) For the reasons set forth on the record, VNA Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted. As for Plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint, it was improperly filed without a proposed amended pleading as required by Local Rule 15.1. Regardless, Plaintiffs' motion to amend is denied. At the hearing, Plaintiffs' counsel stated that he did not know whether an amendment would fix the deficiency identified by VNA Defendants in their motion to dismiss. Furthermore, the same fraud and reliance issue was addressed in Carthan where the Court indicated that its ruling “does not foreclose a fraud claim against Veolia by other plaintiffs. However, those plaintiffs must plead the necessary elements of their fraud claim with particularity, including their reliance on Veolia's allegedly fraudulent statements.” Carthan v. Snyder, 329 F.Supp.3d 369, 420 (E.D. Mich. 2018) (emphasis in the original). Despite this warning, Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 6, 2018 (No. 16-cv-13421, ECF No. 122), and did not include allegations showing that any of the Plaintiffs actually relied on statements made by VNA Defendants. For these reasons as well as those set forth on the record, Plaintiffs' motion is denied.

         IV. Bellwether Selection

         At the November 2019 status conference, the Court appointed a committee of lawyers to develop a proposal for the second bellwether pool selection process. The committee requested and the Court granted extra time to prepare this proposal. The new deadline is January 15, 2020, and no further extensions will be granted.

         V. Scheduling of Next Status Conference

         The next status conference will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 2:00pm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Parties are to file proposed agenda items in No. 16-cv-10444 by January 8, 2020. Individual liaison counsel should collect proposed agenda items from all counsel representing individual plaintiffs and submit ...

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