Court: Lawsuit Against Michigan Officials over Lead in Water Can Proceed – Insurance Journal

2August 2020

Article 0 Comments Flint locals whose health and homes were hurt by lead-contaminated water scored a legal milestone on July 29 when the Michigan Supreme Court said they might continue with a suit against public authorities for the disastrous choices that triggered the scandal.

“Plaintiffs in this case raise a few of the most disturbing accusations of impropriety by federal government actors in Michigan's history,” Justice Richard Bernstein said.

The court's viewpoint was an essential procedural step in long-running litigation that now will return to the Court of Claims.

By a 4-2 vote, the Supreme Court stated Flint locals could pursue a claim of diminished residential or commercial property worths. Locals likewise can argue that their right to physical integrity was breached by the use of corrosive water from the Flint River.

That part of the viewpoint was a 3-3 tie. But it's a success for citizens since a tie under court rules affirms an earlier decision in their favor by the Michigan appeals court.

Flint utilized water from the Flint River in 2014-15 without treating it to lower the corrosive impact on old pipes. As a result, lead leached into the system. Use of the river water was expected to be a short-term procedure while a pipeline was constructed to Lake Huron.

The claim names then-Gov. Rick Snyder, two previous Flint federal government managers appointed by Snyder and public firms that consistently guaranteed the general public that the water was safe.

“Defendants have actually battled plaintiffs every action of the way by trying to foreclose their lawsuit through procedural premises. Yet, the people of Flint have actually sustained, and they now ask for an opportunity to be heard,” Bernstein stated. “The judiciary ought to be the one governmental institution that hears their grievances and manages them the chance to a minimum of continue with their case.”

In a dissent, 2 conservative justices, Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra, stated the lawsuit should be stopped based upon stringent due dates to sue. Justice Elizabeth Clement didn't participate due to the fact that she was associated with Flint water legal matters as a member of Snyder's senior staff.

During arguments in March, Assistant Attorney General Nate Gambill had advised the court to rule against Flint residents.

“There is no policy maker who authorized or mandated that low-level staffers go out and expose the complainants to toxic water,” he stated.


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