Rick Snyder is re-instated as Defendant in Flint water Lawsuit

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been reinstated as a defendant in a Flint class action lawsuit stemming from the water contamination crisis.

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been reinstated as a defendant in a Flint class action lawsuit stemming from the water contamination crisis.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy, reversed herself in an Aug. 1 previous ruling, in which she ordered that Snyder be removed from the suit. Last week, Levy said Snyder could in fact be personally liable to residents suffering with health conditions, as well as businesses facing reduced property values, as a result of Flint government leaders changing their drinking water source to one that was heavily contaminated.

Further, Levy found that Snyder was indifferent to the harm caused to residents because although he denied the problem publicly, privately he addressed how to handle it, but waited quite a few months before declaring a state of emergency.

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In the 128-page ruling, Levy wrote that the dual positions constituted “deception.”

“These two ways of showing indifference represent a continuum of actions, more powerful combined than when viewed in isolation,” Levy wrote. “They depict indifference in the form of deception, from the governor’s unwillingness to admit the crisis, to his downplaying of its severity once it became public knowledge. Viewed as a whole, the allegations plausibly describe ‘conscience shocking’ conduct.”

This reversal now leaves Snyder vulnerable to personal liability claims, Michael Pitt, co-lead counsel in the class action, told Law.com.

“I don’t know the size of his wallet, but his net worth is in the millions, and I think he needs to be held accountable,” explained Pitt to Law. com. “And if he has to pay part of the judgment, he should pay part of the judgment.”

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Dan Olsen, a spokesman for the Michigan attorney general’s office, said it was “premature for us to comment until we’ve had a chance to thoroughly review the 128–page review decision by Judge Levy.” The AG’s office has previously defended governor’s office, although Snyder is no longer the governor. The new governor is Gretchen Whitmer.

Olsen added that it was unclear whether the AG’s office would represent Snyder in this case. “That’s being evaluated,” he told Law.com.

Snyder could not be reached for comment, according to the news site.

 

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