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Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against City Officials of Flint, Michigan

Seven families in Flint, Michigan have filed a class action lawsuit against the city and state officials after scientific and medical studies found dangerously high levels of lead in the blood of residents, especially that of young children. All evidence of lead poisoning seems to point at the ongoing Flint Water Crisis, an environmental health disaster that involved the city switching water supplies from the same source Detroit uses to the nearby Flint River. The lawsuit alleges that government entities switched water sources as a fast bid to save money and, when it was revealed to be unsafe for drinking or hygiene, reacted slowly and deliberately.

One resident involved in the class action, Ms. Melissa Lightfoot, says that she had all three of her children tested for lead poisoning before Flint’s water source switch in 2014. None were in any danger of exposure or side-effects. Tests conducted at the end of the year told a different tale, however, with all three children testing for unsafe levels of lead in their blood. If the medical records can be verified, they may prove to be the key piece of evidence in the class action.

Damages pursued in the class action include costs necessary for medical care to treat lead poisoning. As the lead poisoning is a slowly-acting disease, permanent brain damage could have already been done but not shown in clear signs yet. Ms. Lightfoot attests that her children were recently diagnosed with ADD (attention-deficit disorder) and have uncharacteristic tantrums; the mental and emotional changes, in conjunction with reports of hair loss, could be indicative of the early signs of lifelong harm. The lawsuit will need to consider how much it will cost to treat all symptoms of lead poisoning, now and later.

Is Flint Protected by Governmental Immunity?

In some cases of negligence from city and state officials, governmental immunity can shield them from liability. Prosecutors are faced with the task of proving that negligence was so widespread and inexcusable that immunity must be removed. Despite initial reports of the water’s danger emerging in 2014, only recently has the city switched back to the original water source. With a reaction time over one year, the evidence of negligence may be easily identifiable.

(NBC News has a full report here on their website.)

Be sure to check back with our personal injury blog for pertinent updates about the ongoing Flint Water Crisis. Our New York City injury attorneys at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP are always interested in cases that involve the public’s wellbeing, and we can represent those in New York who have also been harmed in similar ways. Contact us today for more information about our legal services.

Categories: In the News