Wayne County flood victims angered after judge dismisses class action lawsuit

Flood victim, attorney said judge prevented them from gathering evidence to prove their case

You may remember the historic rain that flooded homes in Detroit and Grosse Pointe in June 2021.

Hundreds of families sued, claiming two Great Lakes Water Authority pump stations failed.

Now, a judge has dismissed the case. The attorney behind the class action lawsuit says governmental immunity is to blame.

Attorney and flood victim Paul Doherty said the Wayne County Circuit Court Judge prevented them from gathering evidence to prove their case.

“With us having no ability to gather proof, the Great Lakes Water Authority was able to control the narrative and said, ‘This was the storm of the millennium, judge,’” said Doherty. “‘No sewer system could handle it. Dismiss us,’ and the judge agreed.”

Doherty questioned that logic.

“The only areas that had massive flooding were the two areas serviced by these pump stations,” Doherty said. “So, if no sewer system could handle the rain, as they contended, then why didn’t Troy have flooding? Why didn’t Sterling Heights have flooding?”

Doherty plans to appeal the ruling.

Homeowners around Jefferson Avenue and Chalmers in Detroit remember the flood like it was yesterday.

“It was a mess, a nasty mess,” said Detroit resident Deborah.

Deborah believes there needs to be accountability for what happened, calling it an injustice.

“How could it have happened,” Deborah said. “How can they have been so negligent?”

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.