In Flint, Mich., there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared
This reads: …the City of Flint has actively pursued using the Flint River as a temporary water source while the KWA pipeline is being constructed. …there will be no need for Flint to continue purchasing water to serve its residents and businesses after April 17, 2014.
I don’t know, but what % of Flint is Black, Brown, white, and/or poor? Without knowing, it sound like the white mayor didn’t care a hoot about his citizens and, thus, they must not be affluent whites, like his peers. Someone, please tell me, what are the demographics of Flint?
FLINT — City and state officials supplied highly toxic water to Flint residents solely because it was the cheaper option, attorneys seeking a class action lawsuit claimed in a news conference today, Nov. 16.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday, Nov. 13, claims 14 officials, including Gov. Rick Snyder and former mayor Dayne Walling, are responsible for replacing safe water in Flint with water that was “dangerous, unsafe and … inadequately treated.”
The lawsuit seeks an order certifying it as a class action, an order declaring the conduct of the 14 officials unconstitutional, an order that includes the establishment of a medical monitoring fund, appointment of a monitor to oversee Flint water operations, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney fees.
“Defendants’ conduct in exposing Flint residents to toxic water was so egregious and so outrageous that it shocks the conscience …,” the lawsuit says. “For more than 18 months, state and local government officials ignored irrefutable evidence that the water pumped from the Flint River exposed (users) to extreme toxicity …”
Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman for Snyder, said state officials have not been served with the lawsuit and would not comment on details of it.
“What (we) would say is that we’re focused on moving forward and ensuring public health and clean, safe drinking water,” Wurfel said in an email to The Flint Journal-MLive. “The governor has outlined a detailed multiple step action plan for both immediate, mid and long term.
“He has also appointed a task force doing a very important job of reviewing all past actions. They are a bipartisan group of people of the highest integrity, experts in their fields and widely respected who are going to do a very thorough, objective review.”
Residents and their attorneys said, however, that they’ve suffered health and property damages since the city changed its water source to the Flint River in April 2014 without proper treatment to make it less corrosive.
Water samples collected by the city and tested by the state showed a spike in lead level immediately after the change, and independent testing by researchers from Virginia Tech university showed even higher lead levels — beyond limits that trigger action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
William Goodman, a partner in Goodman & Hurwitz, one of three law firms representing Flint families in the U.S. District Court lawsuit, said state and local officials are responsible for lower property values, damage to plumbing, and injuries ranging from hair loss to neurological disorders because of the water they drank, cooked with and bathed in.
“Governmental immunity does not trump the Constitution of the United States,” Goodman said “We believe we are in a very powerful position, (and) we should prevail.”
Also in the 30-page lawsuit:
- State officials have been sued because they made the final decision that “deliberately created, increased and prolonged the hazards, threats and dangers that arose by replacing of a safe drinking, washing and bathing water with a highly toxic alternative.”
- Two former Flint emergency managers — Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose — are named as defendants.
- State and local officials were “fully aware that the required and necessary anti-corrosive was not being used” to treat Flint River water — something experts have said caused lead to leach from underground pipes and home plumbing.
- The number of injured individuals who have been harmed by exposure to Flint water numbers “tens of thousands.”
Michael Pitt, a partner in Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, another of the law firms involved in the case, said state and city officials have shown themselves unwilling to act until they have been forced.
“When the government creates the danger, they become responsible … It’s the government that created this …,” Pitts said. “The state has been in denial about this. It’s going to take this lawsuit to shake them out of their stupor.”
Flint residents who have filed the lawsuit are Melissa and Michael Mays, Jacqueline and John Pemberton, Elnora Carthan and Rhonda Kelso.
In addition to Snyder, Walling and the emergency managers, the lawsuit names defendants Dan Wyant, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality; Liane Shekter, Adam Rosenthal, Stephen Busch, Patrick Cook, Michael Prysby and Brad Wurfel, all of the DEQ; Flint Department of Public Works Director Howard Croft, Flint Utilities Administrator Michael Glasgow and Daughtery Johnson, former city utilities administrator.
The potential class action lawsuit was filed just three days before an unrelated notice of intent to sue, which was filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Concerned Pastors for Social Action and Flint resident Melissa Mays.