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Judge bars public from secret federal hearing in Wolverine Worldwide contamination lawsuit

File photo of a site contaminated by Wolverine Worldwide.
Bryce Huffman
/
File photo of a site contaminated by Wolverine Worldwide.
File photo of a site contaminated by Wolverine Worldwide.
Credit Bryce Huffman
/
File photo of a site contaminated by Wolverine Worldwide.

A secret federal hearing will determine whether Wolverine Worldwide has to extend municipal water to residents whose groundwater was contaminated by the company's tannery in West Michigan.

A judge ruled the public won't be allowed in the courtroom for the "summary jury trial" next month.

The judicial proceeding is rarely used. The jury delivers a non-binding verdict that's used in settlement talks so it's sometimes referred to as a mock trial.

The judge provided no reason for the decision to MLive, which reported on the secret meeting.

That surprised attorneys for Plainfield Township. The township is a co-plaintiff in the state of Michigan's case against Wolverine.

Copyright 2019 Michigan Radio

Lauren Talley returns to Michigan Radio nearly a decade after her very first internship as a newsroom intern.