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Case Name Brown v. Snyder PB-MI-0019
Docket / Court 5:18-cv-10699 ( E.D. Mich. )
Additional Docket(s) 17-000291-MZ  [ 17-291 ]  Trial Court (MI)
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Case Summary
On November 2, 2017, five residents of Flint, MI filed this lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims. The plaintiffs sued the State of Michigan and state employees for personal injuries and property damage arising out of the Flint Water Crisis under Michigan state law. Represented by private counsel, ... read more >
On November 2, 2017, five residents of Flint, MI filed this lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims. The plaintiffs sued the State of Michigan and state employees for personal injuries and property damage arising out of the Flint Water Crisis under Michigan state law. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief requiring the remediation of harm caused to plaintiffs, monitoring, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

This is one of many cases arising out of the Flint Water Crisis. The plaintiffs claimed that city and state officials chose to use the Flint River as a primary source of water for residents in Flint, despite knowing that the water was unsafe for consumption. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Flint officials began using water from the Flint River in 2013, despite multiple environmental studies conducted in 2011 and 2012 warning against it.

Although initially filed in a Michigan state court, the defendants removed the case to federal court on February 28, 2018. The defendants supplied two bases for federal jurisdiction: first, that they qualified as federal officers because the Environmental Protection Agency controlled their operations; and second, that they acted under federal statutes and rules including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Surface Water Treatment Rule, and the Lead and Copper Rule. The case was originally assigned to Judge John Corbett O’Meara and quickly reassigned to Judge Judith E. Levy, who handled most of the cases related to the Flint water crisis. The plaintiffs moved to remand the case.

The court remanded the case a series of related orders. First, on March 29, 2018, Judge Levy determined that the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Mays v. City of Flint foreclosed the defendants’ argument that they were eligible for federal officer removal. In the same order, Judge Levy expressed concern at exercising jurisdiction over a state-law claim based only on “general[] references” to federal law and directed the defendants to show cause why the case should not be remanded. Then, on April 3, 2018, the court granted a stipulated order remanding the cases against defendants who served as emergency managers in Flint. Finally, on April 17, 2018, Judge Levy remanded the remaining claims. Judge Levy wrote that under Nappier v. Snyder, removal based on a substantial federal question required the unanimous consent of all defendants, which did not exist in this case as to the defendants who stipulated to remand.

The defendants appealed on May 10, 2018. They soon recognized that binding Sixth Circuit precedent foreclosed their appeal absent action by the Supreme Court on Nappier or further developments in Waid v. Snyder, a consolidated case involving federal class actions arising from the Flint Water crisis. The parties stipulated to a voluntary dismissal on July 6, 2018.

The case then resumed in state court. The court (Judge Christopher Murray) denied the defendants’ motion for summary disposition on July 27, 2018. The defendants appealed, arguing that they enjoyed governmental immunity. The case and appeals are ongoing.

Olivia Vigiletti - 11/12/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Sanitation/Public Works
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Governor of Michigan
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Plaintiff Description Five residents of Flint affected by contaminated water.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
5:18-cv-10699 (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
17-000291-MZ (State Trial Court)
PB-MI-0019-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2019
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Joint Notice of Removal [ECF# 1]
PB-MI-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Summons and Complaint [ECF# 1-2]
PB-MI-0019-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order to Show Cause Why This Case Should Not be Remanded for Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction [ECF# 9] (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0019-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Stipulation to Remand all Claims Against Emergency Manager Defendants to the Michigan Court of Claims [ECF# 14] (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MDEQ Defendants Response to Show Cause Order [ECF# 29]
PB-MI-0019-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Vacating Order to Show Cause and Remanding Case to the Michigan Court of Claims [ECF# 31] (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0019-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Notice of Appeal [ECF# 36]
PB-MI-0019-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Levy, Judith Ellen (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0003 | PB-MI-0019-0004 | PB-MI-0019-0007 | PB-MI-0019-9000
Murray, Christopher M. (State Appellate Court) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9001
Monitors/Masters Burns, Shawna (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0003 | PB-MI-0019-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Oliver, Alyson L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0006 | PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Barbieri, Charles E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0001 | PB-MI-0019-0002 | PB-MI-0019-0005 | PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Bolton, Jordan S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000
Burdick, James W. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0005 | PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Cafferty, Michael S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Clare, Christopher B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000
Dwyer, Lisa L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000
Gambill, Nathan A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Grashoff, Philip A. Jr. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0001 | PB-MI-0019-0002 | PB-MI-0019-0005 | PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Jackson, Krista A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000
MARY CHARTIER-MITTENDORF, Mary (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9001
Meihn, Gregory M. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000
Morgan, Thaddeus E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0001 | PB-MI-0019-0002 | PB-MI-0019-0005 | PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Parker, Patric A (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9001
Pattwell, Michael J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-0001 | PB-MI-0019-0002 | PB-MI-0019-0005 | PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001
Perkins, Todd Russell (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9001
Wise, Matthew (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000
Wolf, Barry A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0019-9000 | PB-MI-0019-9001

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