Flint Water Class Action Update

Thank you to the more than 400 people who came to the Tuesday, February 16 informational meeting at U of M Flint. We know that some people were not able to get in, because the room was already at capacity. We apologize deeply for the inconvenience, but it was truly beyond our control. Building security advised us that allowing more people in would be in violation of fire safety codes.

Please call 248-658-0020 if you were not able to attend or if you tried to attend but could not get in. You are still eligible to get involved. Since the response was so huge, we are planning another meeting very soon in a much larger venue. Please watch this page for more info. 


How You Can Build Your Case

A Damage Inventory instruction sheet is linked below. You should review it carefully and call a member of the legal team for further explanation if needed.

On the personal injury side, physical injuries caused by lead and copper poisoning and other water contaminants will be compensable as non-economic damages in the nature of emotional distress, fear, apprehension and pain and suffering. On the property losses side, compensation will be recovered for the replacement or repair of service lines damaged by the highly corrosive Flint River water, cost of bottled water, water filters and water filter replacements, medical expenses, compensation caused by lost time at work, cost of hotel and accommodations and loss of property values.

In additional to individual damage awards, Class Counsel will seek to establish a medical monitoring fund to provide future compensation for those Flint water users who have on-going medical and psychological problems caused by exposure to the unsafe water.

You are under a legal obligation to preserve all of your evidence.  This means that you should preserve all photographs, water samples, medical records, blood lead level reports, notes, emails or anything that is hard copy or electronic that relates to your claim for compensation.

Your legal team is available for guidance on this important point.  Do not hesitate to call one of the law offices for assistance.

View the Flint Water Class Action Damage Inventory General Instructions Here


Flint Water Questionnaire Form

If you were a Flint water user since April 2014, when the City of Flint started using Flint River water, and would like to provide us with information so that we can evaluate your claims, please fill out this form.  For more information, please call  248-658-0020

Sign Up to Be a Volunteer

The class action lawsuit against key figures in the State of Michigan and the City of Flint responsible for the contaminated water is likely to ultimately include up to 30,000 households and tens of thousands of residents seeking compensations and damages from the Flint water crisis. More than 2,400 Flint water users have already contacted Class Counsel since the case has been filed on November 13, 2015. The legal team need your assistance in reaching out to the individuals who are impacted by the contaminated water to make sure that their voices are heard. Click on the link below if you’d like to help. 

Volunteer Sign Up Form


Flint Water Crisis Class Action Update

February 9, 2016

“Class counsel will continue to  vigorously challenge Chief Judge Talbot’s decision to re-assign the Flint water case to himself. In the event that our request on behalf of the class to re-assign this case by blind draw is denied, we will appeal that denial to the Michigan Court of Appeals and if necessary the Michigan Supreme Court.  We will continue to fight for the class to ensure that the rules are followed and everyone gets a fair shot at justice.”

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/02/08/attorneys-protest-claims-judges-takeover-flint-suit/80039088/

Motion to Reassign Case 


 

February 5, 2016

We Have Subpoenaed Documents on Behalf of the Class

Governor Snyder  has been served with a subpoena requiring him and his executive staff to produce all emails and documents from January 1, 2011 to present concerning the use of the Flint River as drinking water, the Flint water system, the Karegnondi Water Authority and related topics.  The Governor has agreed to produce all of his emails and documents on these topics by March 1, 2016.  The subpoena to the Governor is located here  for you to view or download.

We have also served subpoenas on the following agencies and companies for emails and documents from January 1, 2011 to present regarding these same topics.

  1. Michigan Department of Treasury
  2. City of Flint
  3. Detroit Water & Sewerage
  4. Genesee County Drain Commissioner
  5. Karegnondi Water Authority
  6. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam
  7. Auditor General for State of Michigan
  8. MDCH and MDHHS
  9. Rowe Professional Services Company
  10. Tucker, Young, Jackson, Tull Inc.
  11. Veolia North America

The emails and documents responsive to the subpoenas are due March 1, 2016. We have posted these subpoenas on this website for you to view or download.

New Developments in the Federal Case

The defendants in the federal case had until February 1, 2016 to file an answer or motion to dismiss to the November 13, 2015 complaint filed on behalf of the Flint water users and their families for injuries and harm caused by exposure to the toxic Flint River water.  On January 29, 2016, the attorneys for the State asked the federal judge (Honorable John O’Meara) for additional time in order to answer the lawsuit.  The court granted the request and the answer or response by all defendants in the federal lawsuit is now due March 3, 2016.

On February 2, 2016, the attorney general filed motions to withdraw from the representation of the individual MDEQ defendants (Dan Wyant, Steve Busch, Liane Shekter-Smith, Adam Rosenthal, Michael Prysby, Bradley Wurfel and Patrick Cook). The attorney general asserted that there was a potential conflict of interest between the Governor and these individual MDEQ employees and former employees.  This means that the Governor may claim that the State is NOT responsible for the mistakes made by these individual defendants. These individuals will be provided separate attorneys to represent them.  The State of Michigan will pay for their attorneys at taxpayer expense.

Developments in the Court of Claims Case

On January 15, 2016, Class Counsel filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims.  The case was assigned to the Honorable Mark Boonstra by blind draw (judge assigned by the clerk at random).  The main purpose of the blind draw system is to make sure politics does not enter into the judge selection process. Chief Judge Honorable Michael Talbot re-assigned the case to himself.  Class Counsel have reviewed the matter and we have determined that there is no legal basis for this action.  We have asked that the matter be put back in the blind draw.  The Motion to Re-Assign Case can be read here.

 

Class Action News

Since the federal case was filed in November, 2015, more than 2,400 potential class action members have contacted class counsel on behalf of their household (more than 5,600 class members total). Our intake staff are working long hours interviewing class members by phone to get more information about the facts of their individual potential claims.

If you or your family have been impacted by exposure Flint River water, please contact us:

  1. Call 248-658-0020 and leave your name, phone number, and email address (if applicable);
  2. Visit www.FlintWaterClassAction.com and complete the online questionnaire; and
  3. Join us at an informational meeting on February 16 at 6:30 pm at U of M Flint’s North Bank Grand Ballroom, 432 N. Saginaw St.

In the meantime, it is important that you preserve all photographs, water samples and water test results, blood lease level test results, notes, diaries, calendars, and emails that may relate to your case.

Also, doctors at Hurley Medical Center, including Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, recommend that eating high nutrient foods, such as milk and fresh fruits and green vegetables, help limit the absorption of lead in the body. Make sure you and your family are eating fresh, nutritious foods to help fight the harm of exposure to lead. Seehttp://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/shifting-focus-water-food-flint for more info.


 

 

Subpoenas Served to Governor Snyder and MDEQ

 

On January 25, 2016, subpoenas for records were served on Governor Snyder, the Governor’s Office and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).  The documents are to be delivered to class counsel by Tuesday February 9, 2016 at 11:00am.

The subpoena to Governor Snyder and the Governor’s Office  request the emails, text messages or other documents send or received by the Governor, members of his staff, Emergency mangers Darnell Earley, Michael Brown, Gerald Ambrose and Edward Kurtz and which relate to the Flint River as a source of drinking water, Flint River quality, Flint River Quality or the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).  The Governor and his Office are requested to produce responsive emails, text messages and other documents from January 1, 2011 to the present.

The subpoena to the MDEQ requests the emails, text messages and other documents send or received by employees of MDEQ and which relate to the Flint River as a source of drinking water, Flint River quality  or the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).  The request covers the time period of January 1, 2011 to the present.

The deposition notices and subpoenas are at the links below.

Notice of Deposition – Governor Snyder

Gov. Snyder Subpoena 

Notice of Deposition – MDEQ

MDEQ Subpoena 


 

January 19, 2016

New Class-Action Lawsuits Filed By Flint Residents Seek Compensation for Injuries, Damages Caused by Legionella
Bacteria and Lead-Tainted Water

Complaint in Genesee County Circuit Court asks for Injunction against Water Shut-offs, Declaration that Water Users who Received Dangerous Water are Not Responsible for Paying Bills

FLINT, Mich., Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — A group of Flint residents have filed two new class-action lawsuits against Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and additional government officials.

The Genesee County Circuit Court lawsuit requests that Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman enjoin the City of Flint from water shut-offs and that he declare that the Flint water users are not required to pay past or future bills for useless and harmful water.

In the Court of Claims case filed on Friday January 15, 2016, the injured citizens seek to hold the State of Michigan financially accountable for this man-made catastrophe. Those class members who owned property in the City are claiming an unjust and unconstitutional taking of their property without fair compensation.  Known as an inverse condemnation action, the State, by its actions, destroyed or impaired the property values in Flint and must be held accountable to cover the losses in property value.

The new class actions focus on the conduct of the MDHHS.  In June through September 2014, MDHHS had in its possession reports that indicated a dramatic increase in elevated blood lead levels of the children of Flint and it knew that this spike correlated precisely with the exposure to the lead laced Flint River drinking water.  The Department had information that there was a public health emergency yet sat of the information for more than 10 months. The lead poisoning of many of Flint’s children could have been avoided if the Department had shared with the public this vital information.

Read the entire press release here


 

Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality Director Resigns

Detroit Free Press Story Here 


Flint Water Advisory Task Group Letter

Read the Flint Water Advisory Task Group Letter sent to
Governor Snyder on December 29


Auditor General’s Report 

Read Auditor General Doug Ringler’s Flint Water Report Sent to
Senate Minority Leader, Jim Ananich


Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated With the Flint Drinking Water Crisis:
A Spatial Analysis of Risk and Public Health Response

Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, Jenny LaChance, MS, Richard Casey Sadler, PhD, and Allison Champney Schnepp, MD

 

 

Water Quality Issues

Professor Marc Edwards told doctors and others at Hurley Medical Center Flint Water Departmenton Wednesday, Dec. 2, that researchers at Virginia Tech University are continuing to test water samples in Flint, and while lead levels are dropping, they remain above the federal limit for lead in some areas.

“Things are much better, but the water is still not safe to drink. For the foreseeable future, you are going to have to continue using filters,” Edwards said.

Class Action Update

On December 1st, Class Counsel and Class Representatives Melissa Mays, Michael Mays, Jacqueline Pemberton, Keith John Pemberton, Elnora Carthan, and Rhonda Kelso met with Class Members for an Informational Meeting.

Summary of the Legal Case against the Responsible Parties 

Class Counsel Julie Hurwitz introduced the attorneys who are prosecuting the Class Action.  Attorney Bill Goodman addressed the audience and explained why the lawsuit is being pursued as a civil rights case filed in Federal Court. He said that the State and City governments deprived the Flint water users of “life, liberty and property” without due process when the decision was made to switch safe water supplied by the Detroit Water System to unsafe and dangerous water from the Flint River.

          Summary of the Class Action Process

Attorney Cary McGehee explained to the crowd that the State and City have legal defenses which will be heard by the court in February or March.  Delays are to be expected.  This case not an official Class Action until the court certifies it as such. Even if the court does not order the case to proceed as a Class Action, Ms. McGehee stated that those experiencing property damage injury or personal injury because of the water contamination can join the case in an individual capacity.

             Summary of How to Stay in Touch

Attorney Kathryn James encouraged the audience to make contact with Class Counsel in order to be included in the Class Action.  She stressed how important it is for you and your family members to step up and identify yourself so that the lawyers can develop the facts of your case.  Every case developed helps the class action move forward.  The best way to help yourself and your neighbors is to provide details about how this water catastrophe has affected you and your family members.

                   Latest Developments on Your Case

The defendants’ responses to the Class Action complaint will be filed on February 1, 2015. The responses from the defendants and our answers will be posted shortly after the documents are filed with the courts.

As of December 9, 2014, two members of the Michigan Attorney General (AG) legal team have entered an appearance in the Federal Court case for the Governor, the State and all of the state employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).  The two attorneys from the AGs office are Richard Kuhl and Margaret Bettenhausen.

The attorneys who will be representing the City of Flint and the former Flint Mayor and former and current Flint employees have not have not yet filed a formal appearance in the court case.  The City of Flint attorneys have preliminarily accepted service of process for the City and its former and current employees.

The Intake Response Has Been Overwhelming

More than 300 Flint water users have contacted Class Counsel since the case has been filed on November 13, 2015.  We have set up a team of lawyers to handle the Intake of calls.

Each person who has called Class Counsel has been received a call-back.  Class Counsel are conducting an analysis of the Intake information and we will issue a summary of the class characteristics.

If you have not had a chance to speak to a member of the legal team, please be patient.  We are getting back to everyone on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any complaints about how the Intake process has worked so far we want to hear about it so that we can fix the problems as they arrive.  Kat James will take your calls and address your problems as quickly as possible.  Call her at 313.567.6170.

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