FLINT (WJRT) - (01/19/16) - Flint residents and the attorneys representing them want to make government officials pay for Flint's water emergency - both financially and legally.
Tuesday, Flint and Detroit-area lawyers announced three class action lawsuits filed at the federal, state and county levels.
There are four plaintiffs in this class action who represent all Flint residents affected by the water emergency.
"Virginia Tech called me and let me know of the high lead levels in my home,” said Rhonda Kelso, one of the four plaintiffs.
Kelso had suspicions about her water for a while, but when her 12-year-old daughter with special needs tested positive for high blood lead levels, she contacted lawyers.
"Experiencing hair falling out, experiencing other conditions. I have to take precautions with her, extra precautions,” Kelso said.
Now a whole team of lawyers is representing Kelso and three other plaintiffs, but the three class action lawsuits they've filed have the goal of helping every Flint resident affected by the water emergency.
"Our people need relief now,” said Michael Pitt, one of the attorneys in the class action lawsuit.
Lawyers want city officials to stop issuing water shut-off notices. They say because the water is harmful, residents shouldn't have to pay past or future bills.
"They need financial aid now,” Pitt said.
That aid would come in the form of a settlement fund designed to meet both immediate and long-term needs.
The lawsuit also aims to reveal the truth about when government officials knew about Flint's water emergency.
"These public officials were assuring the public the water was safe at a time when they knew it was not true,” Pitt said.
On behalf of their plaintiffs, attorneys are urging those government officials to act soon.
"You need to resolve these lawsuits. You need to do it now. So that people can get on with their lives and begin to rebuild what the state of Michigan so callously took from them,” Pitt said.
Attorneys say more than 500 people have registered with the class action.