On Monday, former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was reinstated as a defendant in the class action lawsuit brought by victims of the Flint Water Crisis.
Snyder, as well as other government defendants in the suit, face charges of violating Flint citizens’ right to bodily integrity as protected under the 14th Amendment.
In late 2018, Flint residents asked U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy to reconsider her decision removing Snyder as a defendant. In her ruling Monday, Judge Levy noted that “the allegations plausibly
describe ‘conscience shocking’ conduct.”
"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, Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and co-lead Plaintiffs’ attorney. “The citizens of Flint were both forgotten and mistreated by those involved in the Flint water disaster. 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."
In her ruling issued this morning, Judge Levy noted that:
"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.
As a result, plaintiffs were lured into a false sense of security. They could have taken protective measures, if only they had known what the Governor knew. Instead, the Governor misled them into assuming that nothing was wrong. Governor Snyder’s administration even encouraged them to continue to drink and bathe in the water.”