News

Pitt Featured in Huffington Post Coverage of Flint EPA Suit

Mary Papenfuss Trends reporter, The Huffington Post More than 1,700 residents of Flint, Michigan, have filed a class action lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, accusing officials of "negligent" mismanagement of the city's drinking water crisis.

The suit, accusing the EPA of a critical failure to supervise local officials who allowed extraordinarily high levels of toxic lead to leach into the city's drinking water, comes amid President Donald Trump's plans to gut the budget at the already overwhelmed federal agency.

The EPA is charged with helping guide local officials to monitor environmental toxins. If the agency determines city officials have failed to take "timely and protective action" in the event of a crisis, such as the contamination of Flint's water supply, it's is required by law to take emergency action to protect citizens. Yet despite knowledge of the danger as early as October 2014, the EPA failed to take action until January 2016, according to the suit filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Michigan.

"As of November 25, 2016, the two and one half year anniversary [of the Flint crisis], the water delivered to the people of Flint remain[ed] unsafe to drink, use for cooking or use for bathing," the suit charges.

The lawsuit is demanding $722 million in damages for plaintiffs who suffered a loss of property values as well as serious heath effects, including lead poisoning, various illnesses, dermatological disorders, loss of hair and gastrointestinal disorders resulting in "emotional distress" and "deprivation of a quality of life."

An attorney for the plaintiffs said the case is strengthened by the fact that some local officials have publicly admitted culpability in the crisis (and several employees have already been charged with crimes). He is not particularly concerned by the Trump administration's plans to gut the EPA.

The "beauty of the judiciary is that it's independent of politics," Michael Pitt of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers told The Huffington Post. That said, he added, the outcome of the case could affect future decisions about the value of the EPA and its policing. "The lesson could be that the judge awards close to a billion dollars in damages, which would take a big chunk out of the federal budget that could have been used for other things." Read the entire article here.

Detroit News Covers Pitt Led Flint Suit Against EPA

More than 1,700 Flint-area residents and property owners have filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the “mishandling” of the city’s water crisis in a legal action seeking more than $722.4 million in damages. The...

Crain's Interviews Lord in UIA Review Story

From Crain's Detroit Weekly January 6, 2017 LANSING — The state's embattled unemployment agency said Friday it will review all computer-identified claims of benefits fraud — more than 30,000 — that until now have not been re-examined after...

Jennifer Lord Speaks to WNYC About What's Next for UIA

Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers Partner Jennifer Lord spoke to John Hockenberry at WNYC in NY. A summary is below. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency reviewed over 20,000 instances where the state accused citizens of fraudulently seeking...

ABA: Who's To Blame for Poisoning of Flint Water?

For LeeAnne Walters, the first sign of trouble came in the summer of 2014, when her 4-year-old son Gavin developed rashes after coming into contact with the water. In July, Gavin and his twin, Garrett, both suffered scaly patches of skin that...

Pitt Takes on Whistleblower Case for Judicial Watchdog

From Courthouse News DETROIT (CN) – The former head of Michigan’s judicial disciplinary board claims he was fired for recommending a formal complaint be filed against a child-jailing judge (Lisa Gorcyca), disagreeing with the view that she is...

McGehee Featured on WXYZ 7 Spotlight on the News

Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers Partner Cary McGehee was a featured guest Sunday, September 4 on Chuck Stokes' WXYZ TV 7 "Spotlight on the News" program to discuss her mentorship and involvement in the 2016 Freedom Tour. You can see the entire...

Pitt Named VP of Washington Based Public Justice

Royal Oak, Mich., August 23, 2016 – Royal Oak attorney Michael Pitt was recently selected Vice President of Public Justice. Public Justice is a Washington, D.C.-based national public interest firm of 14 lawyers which fights injustices through...

Detroit News Covers Warren Whistleblower Lawsuit

From the Detroit News: Warren — A former city planner who resigned nearly two years ago is awaiting a federal judge’s decision on a whistleblower lawsuit that alleges Warren officials forced him out of the job. Kenneth Bouchard, who served as...