“The people of Flint have been harmed through the failure of state officials to provide professional and accountable basic services mandated by federal law and expected by any person living in a major city.”
The NAACP announced Wednesday afternoon that it has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state of Michigan and other involved parties on behalf of the residents/businesses affected by the Flint Water Crisis.
The lawsuit was originally filed on March 31 in the U.S. District Court in Detroit and alleges the state of Michigan, Flint and state officials, and two contracted engineering firms failed to “detect problems and properly treat water that caused extensive lead contamination” in the city.
Among those named in the lawsuit are Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Flint utilities administrator Michael Glasgow and Michigan Department Environmental municipal water regulators Michael Prysby and Stephen Busch.
Two engineering firms, Houston-based Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc., and Chicago-based Veolia North America are also named, who the suit alleges were hired to review the city’s water distribution system and acted negligently in their findings.
Glasgow, Prysby, and Busch are already facing a combined total of thirteen criminal charges announced in April related to their negligence.
“The people of Flint have been harmed through the failure of state officials to provide professional and accountable basic services mandated by federal law and expected by any person living in a major city,” said Cornell William Brooks, the national president and CEO of the NAACP.
Brooks added in his statement, “Our organization stands with the citizens of Flint to demand a clear timeline, deadline, and price tag for fixing this crisis as well as effective remedies for the harms that have already occurred and complete compensation for each and every victim of this unimaginable tragedy.”
The timing of the announcement comes on the heels of Rick Snyder’s dodgy answer to a question over him allegedly deleting emails dating back to 2013, when the crisis was in its infant stages and whose effects might have been marginalized had it been given the proper attention.
“I have not, to my knowledge, deleted any relevant item after the litigation hold issued, and in fact steps have been taken including backups, etc. to ensure that relevant documents are preserved,” his written statement released Monday reads, “As to the date prior to that, I have no memory of deleting an email that would be relevant and think it would be unlikely that I did so.”
Rick Snyder or his administration have not commented publicly on this latest development, except to say that it will not discuss pending lawsuits with which they are involved.
Paul Whitmore, communications manager for Veolia North America, said Wednesday in response to the suit that his firm was hired for a one-month, limited contract in February 2015 to analyze the residual effects of the city’s chlorination process, adding that lead and copper testing were never included in the scope of work as provided by the city of Flint.
“Lead and copper testing were never included in the scope of work for Veolia,” Whitmore wrote in an emailed response, “The City of Flint was conduct tests for lead and copper through another company. The results of the lead and copper tests were not complete during the time of our study.”
The NAACP added Wednesday that they plan to schedule a town hall meeting with residents in the immediate future to fully explain the specifics of the case, the damages they are seeking on their behalf, and other necessary actions.