As reported by Law360, nearly a decade after the toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan began, residents of Flint are still grappling with the aftermath of drinking water contaminated with and poisoned by the extremely toxic heavy metal lead. Despite a $626 million settlement won against the state of Michigan in August 2020, many Flint residents continue to distrust the safety of their water and are highly unsatisfied with what they are told is “progress” addressing the causes and consequences of the crisis.
Inspired by Flint’s fight for safe drinking water, other communities across the country are standing up against governments that are neglecting certain of their citizens. Lieff Cabraser Nashville Office Managing Partner Mark Chalos is leading litigation efforts on behalf of residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan, where residents filed two proposed class actions in November 2021 and March 2022 against the city, the state of Michigan, the EPA, and private companies for contributing to lead-tainted drinking water.
“Flint has empowered other communities to stand up against powerful political forces that have been neglecting and poisoning their citizens,” notes Chalos.
The Flint water crisis and subsequent legal battles highlight the importance of prioritizing communities that get left behind, intentionally or not, with regard to the modernization of critical safe-water-provision infrastructure. As the fight for non-toxic drinking water continues in far too many U.S. communities, it is crucial that federal resources be directed toward affected populations and that all officials obstructing the necessary rebuilding efforts for political or profit reasons are held directly accountable. Civil litigation remains one of the most powerful and effective tools communities have in the ongoing struggle to ensure that safe and ample water supplies are available to all Americans nationwide, regardless of their economic status.
The full article is available on Law360’s website (subscription required).
Learn more about the Benton Harbor, MI poisoned water class action litigation.
About Mark Chalos
The Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office, Mark P. Chalos (twitter: @mpchalos) represents individuals who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries and families whose loved ones died due to the negligence or misconduct of others. In the national opioids litigation, Mark represents counties and cities across the U.S., as well as Native American Tribes and health benefit plans. Most recently, Mark served as trial counsel in the national bellwether trial on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco, which resulted in a successful verdict for plaintiffs.
Mark has tried cases to juries and judges around the country. He serves in the leadership of numerous class actions and multidistrict litigations. He is president of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, a frequent speaker at legal seminars nationwide on a variety of civil litigation topics, and is regularly cited by top-tier media outlets.