The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [advocacy website] on Wednesday announced [press release] the filing of a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against Michigan officials over the Flint water contamination crisis. The lawsuit, filed in March in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] accuses Governor Rick Snyder, several state officials and two engineering firms of “gross negligence” and “outrageous conduct.” According to the complaint:
The Individual Defendants, in their actions and omissions, intentionally and/or with deliberate indifference to an unreasonable risk of harm, injured Plaintiffs and deprived them of their constiutionally guaranteed liberty and property interests by providing and selling Plaintiffs and the Class unusable water that they knew or should have known was contaminated with lead; failing to take remedial measures they knew or should have known would prevent further harm; and failing to warn Plaintiffs and the Class of the contamination of Flint’s drinking water, and, consequently, the presence of lead and other contaminants in their homes and rental properties, despite Governmental Defendants’ actual or constructive knowledge that this failure to warn would cause harm.
The lawsuit seeks property damages, pain and suffering damages, emotional distress damages, medical monitoring, and other injunctive relief for affected city residents and businesses.
This is one of numerous lawsuits that have been filed in response to the Flint water contamination crisis. Last month a group of Flint residents filed an administrative complaint [JURIST report] against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] for negligence in handling the Flint water crisis. David Leyton, a prosecutor in Genesee County, Michigan, announced last month that a Michigan judge would allow criminal charges [JURIST report] against three people involved in the water crisis in Flint, including the man who supervised the treatment plant as well as two state environmental officials. Earlier in April the city of Flint filed [JURIST report] an intent to sue letter with the state, claiming that the city lacks funds to defend itself against lawsuit filed during the water crisis. Hertz Schram PC , a southeastern Michigan firm, filed [JURIST report] a class action lawsuit in March on behalf of the children in Flint who were injured by exposure to the high levels of lead in the city’s drinking water.