Imagine being poisoned with a neurotoxin, then being denied the right to sue the state that poisoned you. That’s exactly what’s happening to the residents of Flint, Michigan.
After Flint Mayor Karen Weaver took action to protect the city’s right to sue over lead-filled water, that right was revoked by the state.
From the Detroit Free Press:
The controversy began March 24, when Flint filed a notice of intent to sue the State of Michigan in the Court of Claims. At the time, Weaver and other city officials said they had no plans to sue the state but had to take the action to reserve the city’s rights, should city leaders later determine a need to sue the state over the lead contamination of Flint’s drinking water. Under state court rules, the city had 180 days from the time it became aware of a potential claim to file the notice or it would lose the right to sue in the future, city officials said, and March 24 was the 180th day.
State lawmakers demanded that Weaver withdraw the notice, and when that didn’t happen, they took matters into their own hands.
Since Flint is no longer ruled under a Democratic process, but by an advisory board, revoking the city’s rights was easy:
….the state quickly and quietly defused any imminent legal threat, using the Receivership Transition Advisory Board that continues to oversee many aspects of Flint city government while the city emerges from emergency management.
However, “the (advisory board) resolution also clarified that its approval was required before the settlement or initiation of litigation,” Heaton said in an e-mail to the Free Press on Friday.
Now Flint cannot sue the state without state approval.