Flint Water Poisoning Prompts Class Action Lawsuit

Three Flint, Michigan residents recently filed a class action lawsuit against Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder, as well as the city of Flint and the state of Michigan. The plaintiffs allege that they suffered serious injury from drinking water contaminated with lead. Former Flint emergency financial manager, Darnell Earley, and other former emergency managers, were also named in the class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of the 31,000 plus residents in Flint who were affected by the contaminated water.

About the Flint Class Action Suit

The class action lawsuit claims breach of contract on the part of state and city officials. The contract was to provide drinkable water to Flint residents, in return for payment from those residents. Providing contaminated water, while taking residents’ payments constitutes “unjust enrichment to the extent of the monies collected,” according to the class action documents filed. The lawsuit also cites violations of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act.

False Statement Made by the State of Michigan?

Before finally admitting the water provided to Flint residents was contaminated, false statements were made by the state of Michigan regarding the suitability of the drinking water. The class action lawsuit comes on the heels of a joint investigation by the EPA and the Department of Justice. A separate class action lawsuit was filed by the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union and the National Resources Defense Council on behalf of Flint residents in November 2015.

High Rate of Legionnaires’ Disease Related to Corrosive Water?

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services just reported that following the city’s switch to the contaminated water source, the number of cases of Legionnaires’ Disease has soared in Genesee County. Ten deaths have been reported as a result of Legionnaires’ Disease, out of 87 cases of the illness. Michael Moore, a filmmaker who is from Flint, Michigan, has repeatedly called for the arrest of Governor Snyder on Twitter. Moore claims Michigan’s governor and his administration could have protected the residents of Flint, but they not only turned a blind eye, they repeatedly assured Flint residents their water was safe.

How Long Has the Flint Tap Water Been Contaminated?

Flint tap water has apparently been contaminated since 2014 with dangerously high levels of lead. Physicians say the levels of lead in the water could damage the brain development of children to the point it becomes irreversible. Governor Snyder has vowed to solve the Flint water crisis, even asking legislators for $28 million to fund immediate actions such as:

  • Bottled water for residents;
  • Filters and replacement filters for households;
  • Testing and replacing fixtures in schools;
  • Testing and replacing fixtures in other high risk locations;
  • Treating children with high levels of lead in their systems;
  • Services for the treatment of behavioral health issues associated with lead ingestion, and
  • An infrastructure integrity study of Flint’s water pipes and connections.

Unfortunately, the $28 million allotted, may be only a drop in the bucket as far as what will be required. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has placed the cost to undo the damage done to Flint residents and Flint infrastructure at between $1 and $1.5 billion.

How the Flint Water Crisis Began

In April 2014, the state of Michigan appointed an emergency manager for Flint, due to the city’s financial crisis. At that time, the state made the decision to temporarily switch Flint’s water source to the Flint River in order to save money, despite the fact that the Flint River had a long reputation for contaminated water. In fact, a 2011 study concluded the Flint River water could only be considered potable if it were treated with an anti-corrosion agent, costing the state about $100 per day.

It is believed such treatment would have prevented as much as 90 percent of the problems associated with the water in the Flint River. When the water source was switched in 2014, residents complained about the water tasting bad, as well as looking and smelling odd. Eventually, researchers found the water to be highly corrosive, damaging not only the residents’ health, but the lead pipes in the city infrastructure as well. With the help of the National Guard, the state of Michigan is distributing bottled water and water filters to Flint residents.

Contact Our Toxic Tort Attorneys

If you or someone you love has been the victim of lead poisoning, or some other toxic environmental exposure, call the toxic tort lawyers at Golomb Legal and we can help. We believe in holding polluters and government officials responsible for environmental injuries.There is no reason you should suffer because of a company's negligence or fraudulent behavior, contact an experienced and skilled consumer attorney who is ready to fight by your side. To learn more about your rights and legal options, call the Philadelphia toxic tort lawyers at Golomb Legaltoday at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential contact form.