According to Common Dreams, a federal judge has reinstated former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as a defendant in a lawsuit brought about by the victims of the Flint water crisis that came to public attention in 2014. The judge cited “conscience shocking” conduct to reinstate Snyder.
Although Snyder was earlier removed from the suit, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy reversed the decision. She said that plaintiffs showed that the allegations against Snyder and the other co-defendants “plausibly describe ‘conscience shocking’ conduct” as the people living in Flint were poisoned by their own water.
Levy wrote that the plaintiffs “ plausibly state that the Governor acted indifferently to the risk of harm they faced, demonstrating a callous disregard for their right to bodily integrity. This indifference manifested itself in two ways. Initially, the Governor was indifferent because instead of mitigating the risk of harm caused by the contaminated water, he covered it up. In private, he worried about the need to return Flint to DWSD water and the political implications of the crisis. But in public, he denied all knowledge, despite being aware of the developing crisis."
Plaintiffs were lured into a false sense of security and if they had known what Governor Snyder knew, they could have taken action. The Governor’s administration reassured the people of Flint that nothing was wrong.
"We are grateful that the Court agrees former Governor Snyder should be held accountable for his role in the Flint water crisis," said Theodore J. Leopold, attorney for the plaintiffs.
"The citizens of Flint were both forgotten and mistreated by those involved in the Flint water disaster," Leopold continued. "To this day, residents continue to suffer because of the reckless decisions of senior state and local officials, as well as private contractors, and we hope to provide a measure of justice and some much-needed relief to those still struggling to recover."
The plaintiffs alleged that Snyder and his staff were aware of the health risks associated with Flint River water many months before an official statement was made. More, they allege that they concealed information from the public. The lawsuit claims that Michigan officials, the city of Flint, Genesee County, and two engineering firms created the water crisis and made decisions that “deliberately exposed” residents of Flint to harmful toxins and lead in their water.
"Rather than moving swiftly to protect the children and families of Flint, the state engaged in a cover-up which tragically led to preventable injuries and deaths of innocent Flint residents," added Michael L. Pitt, the co-lead in the case. "Those responsible for creating and prolonging the Flint Water crisis will be held accountable."