Supreme Court: Residents Can Sue City/State for Flint Water Crisis

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a pair of cases arising from the 2014 Flint water crisis, allowing city residents to pursue a lawsuit against city and state officials over the water contamination.

The justices rejected two petitions filed by Flint regulators and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that sought review of a ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed cases stemming from the water crisis to proceed.

Flint residents who were exposed to contaminated water argued city and state officials violated their constitutional right to bodily integrity. In a filing with the Supreme Court, they said they seek to hold accountable government officials who “personally caused, extended, and exacerbated Flint’s water crisis.”

But city and state officials sought to toss out the claims against them, arguing they should be shielded from being sued. A federal district court and the 6th Circuit, however, sided with residents. 

In a filing with the Supreme Court, lawyers for state officials argued they “did not intentionally or purposefully inject plaintiffs with lead or force them to ingest anything.”

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