March 19, 2018

The justices left in place a July 2017 ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that revived the litigation after the lawsuits were thrown out by a lower court.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave the green light to two class-action lawsuits filed by residents of Flint, Michigan who are pursuing civil rights claims against local and state officials over lead contamination in the city’s water supply.

The justices left in place a July 2017 ruling by the Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that revived the litigation after the lawsuits were thrown out by a lower court.

The high court rejected separate appeals filed by the city of Flint, Genesee County’s drainage commissioner and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials.

The 6th Circuit decided that the civil rights claims brought by the plaintiffs under federal law could proceed, ruling they were not precluded by a statute that sets the standards for drinking water, the Safe Drinking Water Act. That law has its own provisions for people to file suit over unsafe water, although they cannot seek monetary damages like those available under civil rights law.

To read the full article, click here.