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Supreme Court allows Flint resident to sue officials involved in water crisis

Chris Riotta

Lawsuits against a group of officials from the city of Flint in Michigan officials, which was hit by a water crisis in 2014, will move forward after the US Supreme Court denied a request from their attorneys to put them on hold as they pursued an appeal.

The lawyers argued that their clients should not face the lawsuits after a three-judge panel ruled in January the officials “created the Flint Water environmental disaster and then intentionally attempted to cover up their grievous decision".

Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court justice who handles appeals from the Michigan region, denied the request on Friday.

The lawsuit stems from a liability case brought by Shari Guertin.

The Flint resident said water that had been contaminated with lead during the crisis led to injuries for she and her child. She said she and her daughter bathed in the water and drank from their pipes, resulting in the injuries they experienced.

A federal judge initially declined to dismiss the case, leading to the first appeal and the three-judge panel ruling in January against them.

The decision has been left intact ever since the full Sixth Circuit declined to take the case in May, NBC News reported.

In a separate criminal case, prosecutors dropped all charged against the eight officials involved in the crisis on Thursday and pledged to start from scratch the investigation into one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in US history.

The decision came more than three years – and millions of dollars – after authorities began examining the roots of the scandal that left Flint’s water system tainted with lead.

Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, who took control of the investigation in January after the election of a new attorney general, said “all available evidence was not pursued” by the previous team of prosecutors.

Officials took possession this week of “millions of documents and hundreds of new electronic devices, significantly expanding the scope of our investigation”.

Additional reporting by AP