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The first individual lawsuit for a child plaintiff poisoned by lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan has been filed. The child is a 2-year-old girl who went from friendly and responsive to perpetually irritable, according to the Detroit Free Press, and the lead levels in her blood are nearly three times higher than the baseline for toxicity.
Luke Waid, the child's father, announced on Monday with his lawyers that they filed suit against State of Michigan and Flint officials, including Governor Rick Snyder, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, and former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. The plaintiff's lawyers explained that they feared the little girl's claim would be lost in the sea of claims by plaintiffs involved in class actions against the city.
Dad Feels Betrayed
Waid said that he feels betrayed by the Flint officials, who failed to warn of the lead in the water. He described the changes he's seen in his daughter, Sophia, after exposure to lead, saying she went from being a bubbly, energetic kid to an anxious and irritable one.
Speaking on behalf of Sophia and his other children, Waid said, "These guys don't have a voice of their own so I have to be their voice. I have to stand behind my children. If I didn't feel so betrayed, I wouldn't have brought it this far. They could have told us, and we could have had a home filtration system set up so it wouldn't have gotten this far."
Lead levels of 5 are considered toxic and harmful to children, yet Sophia's blood has registered lead levels of 14. Her father is concerned about long-term damage to her mental and physical development.
"We don't know what's going to come in the future," Waid told reporters. "I'm uncertain. I'm no doctor, but it's really putting the parents in between a rock and a hard spot. ... It seems like our city officials do not care."
Waid is of course not the only concerned parent. Others have joined in class actions against the city, but the Waid family worried that Sophia's claim would not receive the attention it is due given the slew of plaintiffs in those cases.
"This child is but one of literally thousands of Flint residents who've been affected," said Waid's attorney Brian McKeen. Speaking of the Waid parents, he said, "They, like any parent have suffered tremendous anguish knowing that their child has been poisoned and faces an uncertain medical and developmental future."
What About Your Kids?
If you or your children have been harmed by exposure to toxic materials like lead in water, paint, or elsewhere, speak to an attorney. A lawyer can assess your case and help you determine whether you have a claim. Many attorneys consult for free or no fee and will be happy to hear your story.