Attorney in Flint water class action lawsuit confident of victory for residents

Published: Jun. 27, 2019 at 11:27 PM EDT
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(06/27/2019) - Attorneys representing thousands of clients affected by the Flint water crisis say they're confident of success in winning a judgment that provides justice.

"Our goal is to make sure that everybody recovers," said Ted Leopold.

Leopold, co-lead counsel in the class action lawsuit, said whether it's a jury verdict or a settlement, the goal of the class action lawsuit is to provide justice.

"At first we didn't know until it got that smell," said Elnora Carthan. “You knew something was wrong."

For 73-year old Carthan, a named plaintiff in the lawsuit, justice would come in the form of addressing her lost property value.

The home she had hoped to sell so she can enjoy her retirement lost its value after she says it tested dangerously high for lead at the onset of the water crisis. Carthan says it dropped in value from $28,000 to $11,000.

"You trusted the water," she said.

Choking back tears, Christina Murphy, who says her family was exposed to lead, pleaded for expanded health care coverage for everyone affected. She’s part of the class action lawsuit against private and government officials, including former Gov. Rick Snyder.

"Government officials created the problem. When they learned of the problem, rather than deal with it, they covered it up," said Michael Pitt, co-lead counsel.

There are also private defendants listed as defendants.

Pitt had this message for those gathered at the informational meeting.

"The state's avenue of escape have been cut off. They have no place to go but either settle the case or go to trial," he said.

While Pitt could not provide a timeline, he said a settlement is always the preferred route as people are treated fairly, and trials can take years.