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Appeals court says former Gov. Snyder should be deposed in civil lawsuit

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder may soon be forced to talk about his decisions during theFlint water crisis.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied Snyder’s and former state Treasurer Andy Dillon’s efforts to be shielded from being disposed fora civil lawsuit.

Snyder and Dillon argued that they can't be forced to sit through depositions, while they're still trying to get dismissed from lawsuits based on governmental immunity.

But the federal appeals court says a judge can put limits on certain questions, while still allowing lawyers to ask Snyder and Dillon about key facts related to the water switch in Flint.

Attorney Theodore Leopold is a co-lead counsel in the class action lawsuit. He says attorneys want to ask Snyder and Dillon about the decisions made in the crisis.

“Many of those decisions had catastrophic consequences on the citizens in the community of Flint,” says Leopold. “So we’re certainly going to be asking them about that as it relates to the relationship and communication with other various defendants in the case.”

While Leopold says Snyder's deposition could take place later this month, he admits a potential trial in the lawsuit is still likely a long way off. 

The class action lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for roughly 75,000 people in Flint.

Leopold expects attorneys for Snyder and Dillon will appeal part of the appeals court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.