Complaint in Genesee County Circuit Court asks for Injunction against Water Shut-offs, Declaration that Water Users who Received Dangerous Water are Not Responsible for Paying Bills FLINT, Mich., Jan. 19, 2016-- A group of Flint residents have filed two new class-action lawsuits against Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and additional government officials. The Genesee County Circuit Court lawsuit requests that Circuit Court Judge Archie Hayman enjoin the City of Flint from water shut-offs and that he declare that the Flint water users are not required to pay past or future bills for useless and harmful water. In the Court of Claims case filed on Friday January 15, 2016, the injured citizens seek to hold the State of Michigan financially accountable for this man-made catastrophe. Those class members who owned property in the City are claiming an unjust and unconstitutional taking of their property without fair compensation. Known as an inverse condemnation action, the State, by its actions, destroyed or impaired the property values in Flint and must be held accountable to cover the losses in property value. The new class actions focus on the conduct of the MDHHS. In June through September 2014, MDHHS had in its possession reports that indicated a dramatic increase in elevated blood lead levels of the children of Flint and it knew that this spike correlated precisely with the exposure to the lead laced Flint River drinking water. The Department had information that there was a public health emergency yet sat of the information for more than 10 months. The lead poisoning of many of Flint's children could have been avoided if the Department had shared with the public this vital information. The new class actions also focus on the serious harm caused by the prolonged and repeated false assurances made by public officials to the public that the Flint River water was safe to drink and use. These false assurances caused many people to experience serious health effects when they unnecessarily consumed toxic river water---serious health conditions which could have been avoided by simply telling the public the truth about the toxicity of the water they were encouraged to drink. The complaints also point out similar behavior on the part of the MDHHS in not reporting a major spike in the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. It remains to be seen how many lives could have been saved if the MDHHS had shared the information with the public in a timely fashion. "Tens of thousands of Flint residents were unnecessarily injured and hundreds of millions of property damage resulted due to the deliberate indifference of a handful of state, city and county officials," said Michael Pitt, co-counsel for the plaintiffs. "Public officials must never again be permitted to give assurances to the public about public health conditions when they know the assurances are false. Public officials must never again be permitted to ruin the lives of our children by remaining silent in the face of a public health emergency," Pitt said. "The attention of the state and the country are finally focused on Flint and there is outrage. But this public outrage doesn't mean the affected residents will be fairly compensated for their injuries and damages. They will still be here long after the media has gone and we want to help to ensure that they receive just and fair compensation," Pitt said. The legal team representing the Flint residents includes Michael Pitt, Cary McGehee, Peggy Pitt and Beth Rivers (Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers); Bill Goodman, Julie Hurwitz and Kathryn Bruner James (Goodman and Hurwitz); Trachelle Young (Trachelle C. Young & Associates) and Deborah LaBelle (Law Offices of Deborah A. LaBelle). Michigan Court of Claims complaint: http://pittlawpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Flint-Water-Crisis-Complaint-Filed-Jan-15-2016-in-MIch.-Court-of-Claims.pdf Genesee County Circuit Court complaint: Available at event and on PR Newswire version of release. http://pittlawpc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Mays-vs.-Genesee-County-Complaint-1-19-2016.docx
Bridge Michigan published an op-ed authored by Michael Pitt which urges Gov. Whitmer to appoint an independent task force to investigate the failure of the Edenville Dam: Read full article here.
TIME -- "States Automated Systems are Trapping Citizens in Bureaucratic Nightmares with Lives on the Line"
Jennifer Lord was quoted in a TIME magazine feature-length investigative report on the harms inflicted by AI-based decision-making systems utilized to manage government public health and benefits programs. The article includes an account of the...
WEYI/NBC/Mid-Michigan -- "Federal Court Rules Former Gov. Rick Snyder Remains as a Defendant in Flint Residents' Lawsuit"
Co-counsel Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in a WEYI/NBC report on a recent federal appeals court decision upholding a lower court ruling that former Gov. Snyder and other state administrators be reinstated as defendants in the Flint Water...
Michael Pitt was cited in a Detroit News report on a state-conducted investigation into the Edenville Dam failure announced by Gov. Whitmer: Read full article here.
The Midland Daily News referenced the lawsuit filed by firm attorneys in the Michigan Court of Claims, including citation of passages from the complaint: Read full article here.
Michigan Radio/NPR -- "Midland County Residents File Lawsuit Against State, Alleging Negligent Dam Management"
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Michigan Radio/NPR report on the Court of Claims suit filed by the firm regarding failure of the Edenville Dam: Read full article here.
Hometownlife.com/Observer & Eccentric -- "Lawsuit: Canton Apartment Owners Evicted Tenants in Addiction Recovery Program"
Hometownlife.com/Observer & Eccentric published a report on a federal housing discrimination case brought against an apartment complex which evicted recovering substance abusers participating in a residential rehab program. Robin Wagner and...
WDIV/NBC reported on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a report from Newsradio WSGW/Midland on the Court of Claims complaint filed regarding the failure of the Edenville Dam: Read the full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in WILX/CBS coverage of the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read the full article here.
WDIV/NBC reported on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read the full article here.
M. Pitt was quoted in a WNEM/CBS report on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims case: Read full article here.
FOX 2 News -- "Mid-Michigan Homeowners Sue State Over Edenville Dam Break, Allege Neglect, Mismanagement"
Michael Pitt was quoted in a FOX 2 News report on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims case: Read the full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Detroit Free Press story on the Court of Claims lawsuit filed by Edenville residents against the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy regarding the failure of the Edenville Dam and subsequent...
Bloomberg Law cited Pitt McGehee Palmer Bonanni & Rivers as attorneys of record in it posted report on the preliminary injunction granted in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
Afro.com -- "First Federal Court Win Ordering Release of Medically-Vulnerable People In Our County Jails"
Cary McGehee was quoted by Afro.com in a posted report on the preliminary injunction granted in the Oakland County Jail COVID-19 class action: Read full article here.
Cary McGehee was quoted in Oakland Press coverage of a favorable ruling for the plaintiffs handed-down in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
Detroit News -- "Judge Orders Oakland County Jail to Submit List of Inmates for Release Consideration"
Cary McGehee was quoted in a report published by Detroit News regarding a ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
The Appeal -- "Lawsuit Seeks the Release of 'Medically Vulnerable' People at Oakland County Jail in Michigan"
Kevin Carlson and Cary McGehee were cited in a report posted in The Appeal (vertical news outlet focusing primarily on the criminal justice system) regarding the problematic conditions at Oakland County Jail due to COVID-19 and the related class...
Cary McGehee was quoted in a Detroit News report on actions taken by Oakland County Jail in response to a federal lawsuit filed by prisoners alleging the facility has not adequately protected them from the transmission of the coronavirus: Read...