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Judge dismisses part, upholds part of Flint water lawsuit

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint residents who filed a class-action lawsuit related to the water crisis got good news and bad news this week.

A Court of Claims judge in Grand Rapids dismissed portions of the lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis The lawsuit alleges state and local officials, including Governor Rick Snyder, violated the constitution and denied them life, liberty, and property without due process.

The judge dismissed two constitutional claims: One that argues Flint residents did not get fair and just treatment during investigations, and one saying there was a state-created danger.

The lawsuit will continue on a couple of fronts – including claims that residents have suffered diminished property values.

Michael Pitt is an attorney for the Flint residents. He said although two of the four counts were dismissed, the judge rejected the state’s claim that they didn’t file the lawsuit in time – and that’s a win for them.

“We know that justice delayed means justice denied,” he said. “And we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that this case moves forward.”

Melissa Mays is one of the named plaintiffs. She said she was shocked and thrilled with the ruling.

“For the court of claims to actually rule that we have merit to move forward with our lawsuit, it was amazing,” she said. “It’s the first bit of really good news we’ve had in a very long time.”

Pitt said the class of six thousand Flint residents that have asked to be a part of this lawsuit are eager to get to the next phase of the litigation.

Pitt said they are ready to start, “Doing depositions and further investigation of what happened here so that we can put the culprits under oath and find out what they knew, and when they knew, and what they did, and what they didn’t do.”

Governor Rick Snyder’s office declined to comment because the case is still pending. 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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