Court of Claims Judge Mark Boonstra allowed parts of the Flint lawsuit to go forward against the state for its decisions leading up to the Flint water crisis. This decision will allow for the merits of such a case to be argued in court for the first time.
Judge Boonstra granted the state’s motion to dismiss two of the claims in the case, but denied two others. The case, Mays v. Snyder, can now move to the discovery and deposition phase, pending a state appeal which seems highly likely. It is a class action lawsuit involving 6,000 plaintiffs that names Governor Rick Snyder, the state of Michigan, two state departments and two of the appointed emergency managers, Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose.
The case represents possible a major financial judgement against the state. It is unlikely the cases in federal court under the U.S. Constitution will see a financial judgement, and most of the cases in the Genesee Circuit Court target the private firms that assisted the water source switch from the Detroit system to the Flint River.
Judge Boonstra dismissed the constitutional claims that involved a state-created danger and fair and just treatment. He allowed the claim regarding “a violation of the protection afforded to an individual’s bodily integrity by the substantive component of the due process clause” to proceed as well as the claim of inverse condemnation to proceed. He also rejected the state’s contention that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the six month statute of limitations and the argument that Mr. Ambrose and Mr. Earley were city officials and therefore subject to litigation in the Court of Claims.