The city of Flint is not immune from federal civil lawsuits related to the lead contamination discovered in its water source in 2016, regardless of whether the city was under state emergency management at the time, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled.
The opinion, issued Friday, also dismissed three former state department heads from the lawsuit filed by Flint residents, but refused to dismiss complaints against other Department of Environmental Quality employees and Flint emergency managers.
The decision in the lawsuit filed by Flint residents Shari Guertin, her child and Diogenes Muse-Cleveland could be “game-changing” for a separate class-action lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court, said lawyers Theodore Leopold and Michael Pitt.
“The court’s decision is clear: The city of Flint does not get a free pass for reckless behavior and violating the constitutional rights of the citizens of Flint,” Leopold and Pitt said in a statement.
Former GOP Gov. Rick Snyder had been dismissed from the class action lawsuit, but plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in October to reinstate him.
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