A total of seven families affected by the Flint water crisis are taking their grievances to court after their lead-poisoned children reportedly went through developmental changes last year.
According to NBC News, the class action suit filed on behalf of the families is an attempt made by lawyers Adam Slater, Hunter Shkolnik, and several others to hold Flint officials responsible for the poisoning of children and adults over the past two years. The city’s water supply was switched to the Flint River in 2014, leading to corroded water pipes and eventual cases of lead poisoning found in residents.
Plaintiff Melissa Lightfoot’s three children, 5-year-old Payton, 8-year-old Kamryn, and 13-year-old Tra’Vaughn, were diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder not long after the city’s water switch.
Lightfoot said her daughters suffered hair loss, rashes, and began to misbehave in school. Because Lightfoot lives in Section 8 housing, doctors believed the lead poisoning came from paint in her home. It wasn’t until several retests that a pediatrician began to wonder if it was the water in 2015.
Via NBC News:
“I was scared,” Lightfoot said. “My kids are getting poisoned from something that’s a necessity and as a parent, there’s nothing I can do to help them. It’s already in them, I can’t take it out, and there’s no medicine for it. I’m constantly at a doctor’s office,” she said. “If it’s not a doctor’s office, it’s an appointment for therapy, because of this lead being in my kids.”
Of the three children, Payton had the highest level, close to 8 micrograms per deciliter. But lawyers said one of the other plaintiffs in the suit tested as high as 30.
Lightfoot now uses bottled water to drink and bathe her kids.
Meanwhile, William H. Murphy Jr. has also brought a federal class-action lawsuit against state and local officials. The lawsuit, filed by Murphy and Flint attorney Val Washington in U.S. District Court in eastern Michigan on Sunday, calls for the city and state to refund $150 million in water bills paid by affected Flint residents and businesses during the time the city’s water was being drawn from the Flint River, reports The Baltimore Sun.
Murphy Jr. is known for his role in the Freddie Gray case. After representing the family in a lawsuit regarding the death of the 25-year-old last year, they were awarded a $6.4 million settlement. Officials named in this suit include former Flint mayor Dayne Walling, Gov. Rick Snyder, the state of Michigan, and Flint emergency managers Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose.