University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Long et al v. Pickell PB-MI-0017
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-10842 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Public Benefits / Government Services
Case Summary
On March 8th, 2016, two Genesee County Jail detainees filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other detainees in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the Sheriff of Genesee County under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On March 8th, 2016, two Genesee County Jail detainees filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other detainees in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the Sheriff of Genesee County under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the Civil Rights Clinic of Michigan State University, sought class certification, declaratory relief, injunctive relief requiring the Genesee County Jail to provide safe and clean water to all detainees, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The plaintiffs claimed that the Genesee County Jail provided detainees with toxic water for consumption, bathing, and food preparation in violation of the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendments.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant did not provide safe and clean water to detainees, impacting their health. The plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff had overwhelming evidence that the water was unsafe to drink and caused lead poisoning after Genesee County officials declared a public health emergency on October, 1, 2015. The health concerns relating to the toxic water of Flint included hypertension, autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, and psychological disorders. After providing only a nine day supply of bottled water to detainees, the Jail required that detainees return to drinking, bathing, and cooking with the toxic tap water. The plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff made the decision to return to using toxic tap water for fiscal reasons. The plaintiffs estimated that 500 individuals were detained at any one time in Jail, and thus subjected to toxic water. This is one of many cases that arose from the Flint Water Crisis. Many cases relating to this crisis were condensed into one class action lawsuit, Waid v. Snyder. This case proceeded independently. For another suit involving the Genesee County Jail but seeking damages, please see Hatcher v. Genesee County.

On April 6, 2016, the complaint was amended to include an additional plaintiff (another detainee) and an additional defendant (the Captain in charge of the internal workings of the Jail). On June 23, 2016, the lawsuit was resolved via a consent decree granted by District Judge Avern Cohn. In the decree, the defendants maintained that detainees had not consumed toxic water. The decree required defendants to provide detainees with water that is not contaminated by lead for drinking and cooking, meaning the water contains less than fifteen parts per billion of lead contaminants. Additionally, the decree required defendants to test the water in five locations within the Jail every fourteen days for an eight week period, sending copies to the plaintiffs’ counsel. If the tests showed that the lead levels were safe, the defendants were allowed to supply water from the Flint water system to detainees for all uses. The consent decree was set to last for one year. (The decree would also terminate if Michigan or the Genesee County Health Department declared Flint’s water safe). There was no additional docket activity during the term of the consent decree, and the case is now closed.

Olivia Vigiletti - 10/23/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Reporting
Required disclosure
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Government Services (specify)
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Sheriff of Genesee County
Plaintiff Description Genessee County Jail detainees.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2017
Filing Year 2016
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-MI-0018 : Hatcher v. Genesee County (E.D. Mich.)
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-MI-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint for Class Certification and for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 4]
PB-MI-0017-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 10] (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0017-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cohn, Avern Levin (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0017-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Manville, Daniel E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0017-0001 | PB-MI-0017-0002 | PB-MI-0017-0003

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -