Another Flint crisis in the making? Lawsuits filed over lead levels in Mississippi’s city’s water

Published 7:16 am Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The City of Jackson and other government officials have been sued over the city’s drinking water, claiming that the water has been contaminated with toxic lead.

More than 600 Jackson children were listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which claims that the children’s constitutional rights were violated.

The lead attorney in the case is Corey Stern, who was a lead attorney for plaintiffs in the Flint, Michigan water case.

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“Flint wasn’t a one-off — it was the canary in the coal mine that opened our eyes to water crises playing out in cities across America,” he said in a news release. “Jackson is yet another tragic and horrifying example of a city failing to do right by its residents and ensure they have clean access to drinking water.”

The complaint, which was filed on Tuesday in federal court claims that in 2014 the city discovered that lead levels in the city’s water were going up. The city then reportedly switched from using well water to using the Pearl River and Ross Barnett Reservoir as its water source but did not take steps to determine the safety of the new water source.

Then, the suit claims that after the city learned that the switch caused even higher lead levels, the city then quietly switched back over to the well system in August 2015.

The suit claims that residents were never properly warned about the issues associated with the well water or the Pearl River and Ross Barnett Reservoir water.

The lawsuits were filed by Corey M. Stern, a partner at Levy Konigsberg. Jackson attorneys, Rogen K. Chhabra and Darryl M. Gibbs of the firm Chhabra & Gibbs, are working with Stern to represent more than 600 children.