How Governor Snyder stripped away Flint’s ability to sue the State of Michigan.
The City of Flint filed a Notice of Intention to File a Claim in March of this year.
One week after the notice was filed the Receivership Transition Advisory Board held an emergency meeting.
Flint cannot sue the state without the state’s permission.
It is perhaps the most cowardly and disgusting act to happen during the Flint water crisis as of yet. The State of Michigan striped away Flint’s ability to sue over the city’s water crisis.
The hits keep coming for residents of Flint ever since the truth about the city’s water came to light. Now it is reported that in March the state silently removed the city’s ability to sue following a letter of intent.
The Notice of Intention to File a Claim.
It all began when the City of Flint filed a letter of intent to sue the State of Michigan on March 24, 2016. City officials had stated they did not have plans to sue the state at that time but had to file the letter of intent as a precaution.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver explained that the notice was filed to meet legal requirements. If Flint had not filed their “Notice of Intention to File a Claim” by the due date of March 25, they would not be able to sue in the future.
The notice was filed over damages to the municipal water system and associated costs. A handful of state lawmakers disagreed with Weaver’s decision, claiming that the suit could hinder the state’s ability to aid in repairs to the city.
The state’s silent response to Flint’s lawsuit.
One week after the lawsuit was filed, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board held an emergency meeting to amend their own rules.
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board as follows: That it be recommended to the State Treasurer that Paragraph 21 of Flint Emergency Manager Ambrose Order No. 3 be amended to read as follows:
Review current and potential litigation and labor disputes with the City Attorney and Mayor. and as needed the Board, and have complete decision making authority on behalf of the City, on &1 mrner5 of litigation and labor disputes, including the ability to settle or initiate lawsuits and resolve labor disputes. The Mayor and City Council shall be consulted on such matters prier to implementation.CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, MAYOR, AND CITY COUNCIL. AND WITH THE CONCURRENCE OF THE CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER, PROPOSE TO THE MAYOR. AND CITY COUNCIL CONSISTENT WITH SECTION 4-604 OF THE CITY CHARTER, THE SETTLEMENT OR INITIATION OF LITIGATION OR RESOLUTION OF A LABOR DISPUTE. A PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OR INITIATION OF LITIGATION OR RESOLUTION OF A LABOR DISPUTE SHALL CONTAIN A DETAILED STATEMENT BY THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER INDICATING THE ESTIMATED FINANCIAL IMPACT UPON THE CITY FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR AFFECTED BY THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OR INITIATION OF LITIGATION OR RESOLUTION OF A LABOR DISPUTE. A PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OR INITIATION OF LITIGATION OR RESOLUTION OF A LABOR DISPUTE SHALL NOT BE EFFECTIVE UNLESS APPROVED BY THE BOARD.
Flint cannot sue the sate without the state’s permission.
In other words, the rules were amended so that Flint cannot sue the State of Michigan without the state approving the lawsuit. House Speaker Kevin Cotter and Governor Rick Snyder requested that Flint withdraw their lawsuit. When their request was not met, the state secretly made sure to protective themselves from any legal actions.
In April 2015, Flint was placed under a state-appointed emergency manager. The state has held on to partial control of Flint through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board. Snyder appoints every member on the RTAB and apparently uses the board to cover his ass against the threat of a lawsuit.
A spokesperson for Snyder responds to the amendments passed by the RTAB.
Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Snyder, claims that the amendment was only to ensure that the mayor, City Council, and other top city officials are involved in handling litigation.
However, Heaton also stated that the advisory board would have to give the approval for any litigation to move forward. This is how the state has made themselves the final decision maker in regards to them possibly being sued by Flint.
Clearly, the amendment in itself raises concerns with the RTAB’s intentions, but when you look at the timing of the amendment the intentions become perfectly clear. Snyder is continuing to protect himself at any cost, just as he has throughout this entire water crisis.