Flint residents impacted by the Flint water crisis are requesting a judge to again add Governor Rick Snyder and other senior officials to the list of defendants in their federal class action lawsuit. The new court filing alleges Snyder and members of his staff knew about the health risks of using water from the Flint River for months before warning the public.
“Rather than moving swiftly to protect the children and families of Flint, the state engaged in a cover-up which tragically led to preventable injuries and deaths of innocent Flint residents,” said Michael L Pitt, partner at Pitt McGehee Palmer and Rivers and co-lead plaintiffs’ attorney, in a press release Sunday.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the amended complaint strengthens claims that Flint's African American residents “were denied equal protection under the law.”
“The citizens of Flint were both forgotten and mistreated by those involved in the Flint water disaster. To this day, residents continue to suffer because of the reckless decisions of senior state and local officials,” said Theodore J. Leopold, partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and co-lead plaintiffs’ attorney. “We hope to restore as defendants the senior leaders responsible for responding to Flint’s water crisis and enforcing State and federal environmental laws to provide a measure of justice to those still struggling to recover and eventually some much-needed relief."
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy previously dismissed Snyder from the litigation back in August.
The complaint also alleges that the state government’s allegedly lagging response to public health concerns may have been racially motivated, saying, “Governor Snyder and MDEQ treated Flint’s predominantly African-American citizens differently than other communities in Flint.”
A spokesperson for Governor Snyder declined to comment on the pending litigation.