Residents of Flint, Michigan slammed three investment banks for allegedly exposing thousands of children to contaminated water through their bond sales to the city.
Flint residents in Michigan sued three investment banks over allegedly aiding in the water crisis in the city. The lawsuit alleged that the banks knew that the Flint River could expose residents since becoming the city’s water source. Particularly, the citizens claimed that the change happened without proper corrosion control measures.
The plaintiffs, also representing thousands of underaged residents, filed the case at the US District Court of Michigan’s Eastern District. According to the lawsuit, the city could not afford to pay the pipeline without the backing of the banks. Now, the residents seek damages for allowing the city to build a new water pipeline and exposing people to improperly treated water. The monetary damages could amount to $2 billion, the representative of the plaintiffs estimated.
Residents of Flint, Michigan, have filed a civil lawsuit against three investment banks for claims arising from the poisoning of "minors, residents and water users of the City of Flint…" https://t.co/RedlOxJL5d
— CNN Business (@CNNBusiness) October 9, 2020
The investment banks named in the case include JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Stifel Nicolaus & Company. The civil lawsuit accused that these banks “underwrote the bond sale that financed and enabled Flint’s participation in the Karegnondi Water Authority” pipeline. Moreover, the suit alleged that the bond sale has aided in violating the residents’ “firmly established constitutional right to bodily integrity.” Basically, the lawsuit alleged that the banks pursued the bond sales despite the potential health risks of the project.
The allegations said that the three banks “agreed to underwrite the bond financing,” the complaint reads. Moreover, the residents accused the banks of engaging “in conscience shocking behavior by underwriting Flint’s participation in the KWA.”
The complainants also alleged that the move poisoned “Flint’s children, residents, and other users,” and that the banks know the “drastic and dire health consequences to the children of Flint.”
According to Corey Stern, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, the banks “100 percent” knew that pursuing the bond sale could endanger the lives of people and children. However, Stern added, rather than do “the right thing, the ethical thing, the moral thing,” the banks proceeded.
“But the potential profits seemingly outweighed the known risks, and greed, money, and power won out,” Stern told CNN.
Actually, for years, several other lawsuits have been filed concerning the Flint water crisis. The cases accuse the involvement of the government and environmental engineers in exposing residents to toxic water. The water crisis began six years ago, since the city sourced water from the Flint River.
CNN Business noted that the banks named in the allegations declined to provide a comment.