February 18, 2020

Addressing an issue as big as a compromised water supply takes a number of forms. There’s the legal front, as well as work on infrastructure. Perhaps most critical: the rebuilding of public trust.

Water coming from faucets in this city is no longer discolored or malodorous. Truckloads of bottled water from other communities have slowed to a trickle. These improvements do not mean that Flint’s water crisis is over. Instead, a new and uneasy normal has settled in.

“One of the lingering effects is the pall that has been cast over this city,” says the Rev. Deborah Conrad, pastor of Woodside Church, a multidenominational congregation in the heart of downtown Flint. “It’s a kind of a depression, an unwillingness to trust. There are lingering mental and physical effects we cannot measure and won’t know for a long time.”

Theodore Leopold of the law firm Cohen Milstein, one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs in the class-action suit, says bodily integrity refers to the protection of citizens’ “inherent and constitutional rights, such as the ability to have clean water and that one group should not be segmented over another from having these rights.” Mr. Leopold says his clients are seeking justice for individual injuries along with damages to personal property and businesses affected by water contamination.

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