A federal judge on Monday allowed a major class-action lawsuit over the Flint water contamination crisis to move forward and reinstated claims against former Gov. Rick Snyder.
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy authorizes new evidence in the case that plaintiff attorneys argue shows Snyder was aware of significant risks posed by Flint River water as early as April 2015 but did not inform residents until five months later, when the crisis could no longer be denied.
Levy had dropped Snyder from the case in the fall 2018. But new allegations, if proven true, would show Snyder was “deliberately indifferent” and showed “callous disregard” for the health and safety of Flint residents, she wrote in a 128-page decision reinstating Snyder as a defendant and addressing other claims.
The consolidated class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Flint residents claiming personal injury and/or property damage as a result of the city's water contamination crisis, including those exposed to lead and at least one person who died due to possible Legionnaires’ disease.
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Theodore Leopold, an attorney for plaintiffs, said they are "pleased with today’s decision in that now Gov. Snyder will be held accountable for his gross misconduct and bad decisions he made towards Flint.”
“Those actions played a large part in causing great harm to the citizens of Flint,” Leopold said in a statement emailed to The Detroit News.
Levy on Monday also rejected motions to dismiss “bodily integrity” claims against former Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon, several other state officials and former Flint emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose.
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