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Jan Burgess, a Flint, Michigan resident, is the named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed against the USA on behalf of over 1,700 residents of city alleging the Environmental Protection Agency failed to protect them from the Flint Water Crisis. Shockingly, the city still suffers from water problems today, but that has not stopped residents from seeking relief for the damages and injuries already suffered. And because they are alleging the EPA failed them, the case is against the United States of America.
The class action is seeking nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars for negligence, failure to warn, as well as a result of failures pursuant to the Safe Water Drinking Act. Emotional and physical injuries are alleged and include lead poisoning, dermatological conditions, loss of hair, as well as other injuries to both adults and children. Further damages include loss of value of real estate and personal property.
Flint Water Crisis
In 2015, it was discovered that the water in Flint contained dangerously high levels of lead and other contaminants. The contamination was the result of the city switching water supplies in order to save money due to a constrained budget. Unfortunately, the new water supply was not properly tested and as a result thousands of Flint residents were exposed to the dangerous, contaminated water.
What makes this a crisis is the fact that the residents were advised to drink the water despite officials knowing the dangers, and what's worse is that they have still not had the water problem corrected after over a year.
EPA Sued for Failure
While the lawsuit is seeking damages for the residents of Flint, it is doing so based on the failure of a federal agency to act. The EPA is alleged to have failed to protect the residents of Flint by failing to issue an emergency order when it discovered that the city's drinking water was contaminated, and also failing to take corrective action after discovering the problem, both of which are required by the SWDA.
The damages that are sought seek to compensate the residents who have suffered actual physical injuries as a result of their exposure to the contaminated water, as well as residents who have suffered emotional or consequential damages.