Lawyers have now filed three class-action lawsuits in Flint, Michigan, in connection to the city’s water crisis, ABC News reported Tuesday. The lawsuits are seeking individual damages for Flint residents who have complained about health issues and worry about future ailments resulting from the city’s contaminated tap water.
"If you make the mess, you clean it up," said Michael Pitt, an attorney representing Flint residents who are suing Michigan officials, CNN reported. "I'm reminding our elected officials of what my kindergarten teacher told me."
The suits were filed against Michigan Gov. Rich Snyder, former Flint emergency managers Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose, Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Genesee County and other government officials.
Pitt alleged that state officials found out about the elevated lead levels in children’s blood in 2014, and did nothing.
"They were staring at a public health emergency, and they sat on it for over 10 months," Pitt said, CNN reported. "I don't know how many kids were poisoned because of these false assurances, but we're going to find out."
The lawsuit filed with the Genesee County Circuit Court requests that customers of Flint water are not required to pay past or future bills for “useless and harmful water,” WXYZ reported, and in the Court of Claims lawsuit, residents want the state to be accountable for destruction of property values and to cover those property losses. A lawsuit had previously been filed in federal court.
Snyder declared a state of emergency for Genesee County earlier this month after it was determined that following Flint's money-saving switch of water supply in 2014, the city's tap water had become contaminated with an overabundance of lead, the Associated Press reported. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Michigan Saturday, releasing $5 million in federal funding, and the National Guard was deployed to Flint to help deliver clean water to residents.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is scheduled to meet with Obama at some point Tuesday. The Michigan Gov. is also expected to talk about the water crisis Tuesday night during his State of the State Address.