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Lawsuit Blames State Agencies for Dam Failures

Midland Daily News

June 30, 2020

A new lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims places the blame for damages done to homes and businesses during the May 19 flooding on state agencies.

The lawsuit, filed on June 25, alleges the state agencies Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) “caused the catastrophic failures” of the dams through negligence.

“The failure of these dams was not the result of happenstance,” the lawsuit states. “It was the predictable result of defendants’ mismanagement over the course of years.”

The suit’s 15 plaintiffs are identified in the 56-page lawsuit as residential and commercial property owners who reside near the Edenville and Sanford Dams. EGLE and MDNR are the listed defendants.

“This is an important step towards securing justice for the Midland community, which has been so dramatically harmed by the collapse of the Edenville and Sanford dams,” Theodore Leopold, one of three attorneys for the plaintiffs, stated in a press release. “Years of negligence caused our clients and so many others to lose their homes and businesses, and we look forward to helping them achieve a full measure of justice.”

Leopold, a partner at the Chicago-based Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and co-chair of the firm’s Complex Tort Litigation and Consumer Protection practice groups, is joined by attorneys Paul Stephan and Michael Pitt.

Read Lawsuit Blames State Agencies for Dam Failures.