Leading a call and response of “We won! They lost!” with a crowd of 100 vocal Flint residents at UAW Local 659 last night, Flint Water Class Action attorney Michael Pitt asserted that the numerous water crisis civil cases chugging through the courts are heading in the right direction.
“All avenues of escape have been cut off,” Pitt said of the arguments and unsuccessful attempts at dismissals by defendants from the State of Michigan, the EPA, and several engineering contractors including Veolia and Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam (LAN). “We have won every challenge that we have been faced with, and now the state is in a pickle.”
The choices are down to this, Pitt said, “Either settle the case or go to trial.”
Pitt is one of two attorneys appointed as “interim co-leads” to oversee the civil cases by U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan Judge Judith Levy. Levy, based in Ann Arbor, has consolidated and is overseeing ten related Flint water crisis class action lawsuits.
Ted Leopold, with Pitt a co-counsel appointed under Judge Levy, said “I see your teeshirts, I hear you say that Flint is still broken, but in high volume, I hear you say Flint Strong.”
“We could talk about how Flint is still broken, with its pipes, its illnesses, its bad water, but what is not broken is your spirit, your individualism, and making sure that what happened to you will never happen again.”
“We have won in every aspect of this litigation,” Leopold said, repeating Pitt’s themes, “And we won because justice always wins in the end.”
In addition to litigation processes, a current avenue being pursued is a settlement, he said–“to see if there are ways that can formulate a win-win for everybody.”
“We are only concerned about one win — that is the win for you and the citizens here in Flint,” Leopold said, adding, “We have to remember everybody here in Flint was harmed.”
“We are going to assure as part of any settlement that everybody is treated equally, with parity,” he said. “There will be full parity in any settlement that is discussed.”
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