In a victory for the residents of Flint, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled today that a class action may proceed against the State of Michigan, the Governor, and State-appointed emergency managers in the City of Flint for their ill-fated decision to use the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting source of drinking water. The Court’s decision affirmed lower court decisions in the Michigan Court of Claims and the Michigan Court of Appeals that similarly ruled that the residents of Flint could bring claims against the State.
Paul F. Novak, Managing Attorney of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Detroit office argued the appeal for a proposed class of City residents who suffered personal health effects and property damage. “The residents of Flint have suffered for six long years while the State has filed appeal, after appeal, after appeal, to delay justice,” Novak stated. “Today strikes another victory for Flint’s residents and hopefully the Supreme Court’s words make it clear that the people of Flint are entitled to justice.”
The lawsuit against the State of Michigan was filed in early 2016 and challenged the conduct of then-Governor Rick Snyder, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, who all participated in the decision to use the heavily polluted Flint River in 2014 as a drinking water source, or covered up the toxic health effects that resulted from drinking river water. Subsequent studies demonstrated elevated levels of lead in the blood of Flint’s children and a spike in Legionella cases, among other harmful effects.
“I feel humbled to have the opportunity to represent the people of Flint,” said Novak, a Detroit resident who grew up in Flint. “The people who live in Flint are resilient, but they have been through a lot, as they faced the health threats from exposure to tainted water,” Novak stated. “Hopefully, this decision fosters a willingness on the part of state government decision makers to do the right thing and resolve these cases.”
For additional information, contact Roneisha Dalton at (313) 800-4170.