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Potential class action lawsuit seeks $150 million for Flint water bills, damages

water faucet
Flickr user Bart

In Flint, attorneys have filed what they hope will be a massive, class-action lawsuit representing all of the city’s residents.  

The same Baltimore law firm that represented the family of Freddie Gray, who died under questionable circumstances while in police custody, is now part of the legal team seeking at least $150 million for Flint residents.

That money, attorneys say, would be partly to refund the last two years of water bills, starting from when the city switched to suing the Flint River.

But the money would also be for “compensatory damages” suffered by residents who drank the lead-contaminated water.

The suit, which was filed in federal court, names Governor Snyder, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former city mayor Dayne Walling, the MDEQ and other officials.

Credit Kate Wells/Michigan Radio
From left: Pastor Edwin Anderson and Alline Anderson are two of the plaintiffs in the suit. Their lawyers are Susan Burke, Billy Murphy, and Val Washington

Already two Flint families and one business, Epco Sales LLC, are named as plaintiffs in the case, although attorneys say they want more people to come forward and be part of the suit.

Flint attorney Valdemar Washington filed the lawsuit, but he’s joined now by Billy Murphy and other attorneys from the Baltimore firm of Murphy, Falcon and Murphy.

A judge will have to decide whether the case qualifies as a class action.

And soon, Murphy and Washington say they plan to file a temporary injunction to keep the city of Flint from shutting off people’s water, while the lawsuit plays out in court. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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