Michael Pitt Flint MliveFLINT, MI — Residents who are suing city and state officials, alleging gross negligence in the Flint water crisis, won’t be forced to make their case in federal court, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals says.

The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, issued an opinion Monday, Sept. 11, saying the class action case can remain in Genesee Circuit Court where it was filed in January 2016.

Four current or former employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sought to have the case moved to federal court, but attorneys for the residents, including activist Melissa Mays, asked that the case remain where it was filed.

The U.S. District court earlier agreed with the residents, a decision the DEQ employees asked the Appeals Court to reverse.

Instead, the three judge panel affirmed the earlier decision, saying that state employees failed to meet the burden “of demonstrating that a basis for federal jurisdiction exists.”

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