Court Battles

Supreme Court allows lawsuit against Flint city officials to advance

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The Supreme Court will allow a lawsuit to move forward against Flint, Mich., officials over their role in the city’s public health crisis following its decision to switch water sources in 2014.
The court said on Tuesday it would not hear an appeal from city officials after lower courts denied their efforts to have the case dismissed.
After the city’s decision to change water sources from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which had been widely considered to be contaminated, Flint residents reported widespread cases of hair loss, skin rashes, Legionnaire’s disease and lead poisoning.
Twelve people died from Legionnaire’s disease in the aftermath.
The case was brought in 2016 by Shari Guertin, a Flint resident whose child drank the lead-contaminated water, against city and state officials, including former Gov. Rick Snyder (R). A district court judge threw out her claims against the state officials but allowed her case against the city to move forward.
The defendants in the case are the city of Flint; former emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose; and Howard Croft, the former director of Flint’s public works department.
In January of last year, a three-judge panel on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed her lawsuit to move forward, denying the city officials’ claims of immunity.

The defendants “created the Flint Water environmental disaster and then intentionally attempted to cover-up their grievous decision. Their actions shock our conscience,” Judge Richard A. Griffin wrote in an opinion.

Updated at 11:19 a.m.


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