March 04, 2020

Melissa Mays is tired.

Six years after a switch in drinking water sources changed her life in ways she is still discovering, the Flint mother of three took time off work Wednesday to travel to Lansing for Michigan Supreme Court arguments in a class-action lawsuit she and other residents filed against the state in early 2016.

Later that day, Mays planned to return to her job as a social worker in Flint, where she still sees the effects of the water contamination crisis on her neighbors.

“I’m tired because it’s been 2,140 days of the Flint water crisis, since day one, and it’s been almost five years since we’ve been fighting for an actual remedy,” Mays, 41, told Bridge Magazine after the hearing.

“I’m irritated that the fact [attorneys for Michigan are] still saying that basically we should have known sooner … even though all their tests were saying everything was fine.”

The case is among a series of class-action suits working their way through the courts. It is the suit that seeks monetary damages from Michigan’s government, which oversaw Flint’s finances and failed to ensure proper corrosion control chemicals were added to corrosive river water that caused lead to leach from aging pipes and into the municipal supply.

Supreme Court justices heard dueling attorney arguments in an appeal by the state, which wants the case tossed. A legal defense team in Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office contends plaintiffs are trying to establish a novel constitutional right and did not file their suit soon enough to meet a legal deadline.

It will likely be months before the court renders a decision.

The lengthy legal battle has already worn on the Flint residents. Many continue to drink bottled water despite test results showing lead levels have fallen below danger levels since then-Gov. Rick Snyder’s declared a state of emergency and orchestrated the city’s return to Detroit water.

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