Flint, Michigan Residents Sued Federal Government Over Contaminated Water

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Flint, Michigan Residents Sued Federal Government Over Contaminated Water
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U.S. District Judge Judith Levy in Ann Arbor ruled that residents of Flint, Michigan can pursue a class action lawsuit against the federal government for failing to respond to the city’s water crisis beginning in 2014. Plaintiffs claim that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency waited too long to take action, even after it had become clear that E. coli, coliform bacteria, and lead were polluting the water supply. This issue began in 2014 when the city of Flint decided to stop using the Detroit water supply, switching instead to using water from the Flint River. Local and state officials provided misinformation about the state of the water, claiming that it was perfectly safe for both drinking and bathing. When studies from Virginia Tech University and Hurley Medical Center identified the presence of significant amounts of lead in both the water supply and children’s blood, criminal and civil cases were filed against state and local officials. Since 2014, more than 10 state and city officials have been criminally charged regarding the scandal, with further litigation ongoing. In 2017, the court consolidated nine class action lawsuits as plaintiffs prepared to file a third and fourth amendment to their complaints.

Judge Judith Levy recently ruled that legal action may continue against the City of Flint.

Legal actiona gainst the City of Flint and several of its officials for the continuing damages of their reckless behavior and omission of truth about the state of the water is ongoing. This claim alleged that the defendants in the case violated the plaintiffs’ rights to bodily integrity by hiding the dangers of the water, allowing them to be intentionally exposed to its consequences. A settlement of $600 million was reached on behalf of Flint residents affected by the water crisis. This lawsuit was won against the State of Michigan, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and state officials who could have informed residents of the risks associated with the water but failed to do so. Flint residents, property owners, and businesses can now make settlement claims to begin receiving compensation for theirs and their children’s damages. Another class action lawsuit regarding negligence on the part of the engineering firms hired to assess Flint’s water quality has been approved and is currently ongoing.

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