Judge to decide fate of Flint water class action lawsuit

Published: Jul. 11, 2018 at 5:42 PM EDT
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(07/11/18) - "How heartless! People have suffered. We've suffered," said Flint resident Florlisa Stebbins.

Stebbins is one of many who live in Flint who made the trip to Ann Arbor Wednesday to hear attorneys argue why the officials they represent should not have to pay damages to victims of the water emergency.

"We keep hearing that all they want to do is dismiss dismiss dismiss," said Melissa Mays, a Flint mom who has spoken out regularly against the mad-made public health crisis.

While Judge Judith Levy listened to arguments from attorneys representing various government officials, the people of Flint gathered inside the courtroom, outside in the hallway and also outside the federal building because of a lack of seating.

Mays, her children and a number of others who are from Flint are constantly living with the effects of the water emergency. They wore shirts with captions explaining how the toxic lead-laced water impacted their lives.

Several separate class action lawsuits were combined into one massive complaint last year. Now attorneys for 22 defendants want the case thrown out.

"We can't dismiss the health problems that we have so why do they get to dismiss our cases, and all it's trying to say is you're not really poisoned. Well you don't live here, you don't know how we feel and you're not really listening to us," Mays said.

"Four years is way too long. If this had been done anywhere else in the state of Michigan this would have been taken care of years ago," Stebbins said.

Attorneys made their arguments to Judge Judith Levy.

"She listens to everybody. She wishes that we could go downtown but the court is under construction because you have a lot of Flint residents that want to participate," said defendant Darnell Earley's attorney, Todd Perkins.

Michael Pitt, lead counsel for the class, says a decision will be made within 30 days.

"We will get a decision within the next 30 days. We're anticipating that the case will go forward and we're going to be involved in discovery and it could be a matter of years before this whole thing is resolved," Pitt said. "They kept it secret then they lied about it and covered it up and today these same government officials are asking to be exonerated by the court."

Judge Levy said during the hearing that she is prioritizing this case over all the others.