Class action lawsuit seeks $722 million from EPA

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FLINT (WJRT) - (01/30/17) - The class action lawsuit says the EPA knew something was up with the water and they pushed the complaints aside.

Jan Burgess was one of the first to reach out to the EPA. She filed a claim for damages, and after several months, when she didn't get a response, she sued.

"I've developed some very severe thyroid problems, part of my esophagus is wearing away, I have trouble swallowing," Burgess said. "Now, I can't say that all of this is because of the water, you just can't, you know, but I didn't have these problems before."

Plus, Burgess says, the water emergency has caused the value of her $180,000 house to dramatically decline.

"It's not that I'm greedy, it's just that I'm not willing - it seems like we've given so much. I'm just not willing to give them that too," she said.

The more than 1,700 people who joined the lawsuit say they're dealing with the same issues due to the contaminated water. They agree the EPA is to blame.

"The EPA had oversight authority and responsibility and had they done their job, they could've actually prevented any of this from happening," said Attorney Trachelle Young.

She and a team of Michigan lawyers are suing the EPA for $722.4 million.

"And if you ask us, it's not enough because what value can you put on someone's health? You can't give them good health back. So whatever money they can get to help them enjoy the quality of life that they have, they deserve it," Young said.

She tells ABC12 News this fight is personal.

"We were here, we were exposed to the water. You know, I still live in Flint, but I haven't bathed or showered in my own home in two years. And I still won't because they haven't changed the pipes yet," Young said.

She says even if it takes years to see the legal process through, she and her team aren't giving up.

"We just gotta wait until they exhaust all their appeals, but we're not going away. That's all we want these defendants to know. We just want justice, you know. We're not asking for too much," Young said.

The EPA is now required to file a response and then Young says they'll go from there.

If you'd like more information on the lawsuit or would like to join the plaintiffs, you can visit

(01/30/17) - We are learning details about the largest lawsuit filed to date regarding the Flint water emergency.

Monday, more than 1,700 people filed a class action suit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

They're asking for $722.4 million, saying the EPA didn't do its job protecting the people of Flint from lead in the water.

The suit says because of the EPA's negligence, the people exposed to the contaminated water have spent money out of pocket to handle health issues and their property values have declined.

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