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Case Name Mason v. Lockwood PB-MI-0024
Docket / Court 5:16-cv-10663 ( E.D. Mich. )
Additional Docket(s) 16-106150-NM  [ 16-106150 ]  Trial Court (MI)
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Environmental Justice
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Flint Water Cases
Case Summary
On February 18, 2016, a group of Flint, Michigan residents filed this class action lawsuit in the Michigan Circuit Court for the County of Genesee. The plaintiffs sued Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C. and a related corporate entity under state law. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs ... read more >
On February 18, 2016, a group of Flint, Michigan residents filed this class action lawsuit in the Michigan Circuit Court for the County of Genesee. The plaintiffs sued Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C. and a related corporate entity under state law. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs alleged that Lockwood, a company that helped Flint switch its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, negligently caused Flint residents to be supplied with water contaminated by lead and other biological and chemical agents and failed to warn residents about the health risks. The plaintiffs claimed that they sustained serious bodily injury, property damage, depreciation of property value, and emotional harm and resulting stress-related physical symptoms as a result. The plaintiffs sought compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

The defendants removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on February 23, 2016, which the plaintiffs opposed.

On May 11, 2016, the district court (Judge John Corbett O’Meara) remanded the case to state court. In Judge O’Meara’s view, the dispute was “a truly local controversy” ill-suited to a federal forum. Judge O’Meara noted that the plaintiffs’ negligence claims did not involve a substantial federal question and that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) could not support federal jurisdiction because CAFA’s local controversy exception applied: there was a significant local defendant, more than two-thirds of the proposed class were Michiganders, the injuries happened in Michigan, and there was no similar class action against any of the defendants.

The defendants appealed. On November 16, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s decision. Judge Richard A. Griffin (joined by Judge Bernice B. Donald) wrote that the case “exemplifies the quintessential local controversy” and found that CAFA’s local controversy exception applied. Judge Raymond M. Kethledge dissented, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to adduce sufficient proof that at least two-thirds of the members of the putative class were Michiganders or that the conduct of a Michigan defendant formed a significant basis for the claim.

The case is now ongoing in Michigan state court. As of November 19, 2019, the parties are engaged in discovery.

Peter Harding - 10/18/2019
Nora Baty - 11/20/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Sanitation/Public Works
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Government Services (specify)
Groundwater
Sanitation / living conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc.
Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C.
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are a group of Flint residents impacted by the decision to use the Flint River as a primary source of drinking water in the City of Flint.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 02/18/2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
5:16-cv-10663 (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0024-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and First Amended Complaint [ECF# 1-1]
PB-MI-0024-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand [ECF# 23] (2016 WL 7975280) (E.D. Mich.)
PB-MI-0024-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/11/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 24] (842 F.3d 383)
PB-MI-0024-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Donald, Bernice Bouie (W.D. Tenn., Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0002
Griffin, Richard Allen (Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0002
Kethledge, Raymond M. (Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0002
O'Meara, John Corbett (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0001 | PB-MI-0024-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blake, Jayson E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-9000
McAlpine, Mark L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0003 | PB-MI-0024-9000
Peters, John T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0003 | PB-MI-0024-9000
Schnatz, Adam T. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-0003 | PB-MI-0024-9000
Shea, David J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Erickson, Phillip (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-9000
Kamenec, Robert G. (Michigan) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-9000
Kent, David C. (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-MI-0024-9000

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