CBx Daily

Big Banks Trying To Get $2 Billion Flint Water Crisis Lawsuit Dismissed

Oct 21

By CultureBanx Team

  • JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Stifel, Nicolaus are seeking to have their $2B Flint water crisis lawsuit dismissed
  • Over 2,000 Flint residents are plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit water crisis against the 3 major banks

A federal judge recently heard arguments seeking a dismissal in a $2 billion lawsuit worth of damages for Flint, Michigan residents, from the banks they believe were behind their water crisis. Citizens of Flint have been pursuing a civil lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase (JPM +1.53%), Wells Fargo (WFC -1.61%), and Stifel, Nicolaus, & Co. for underwriting a bond that allowed the city of Flint to pay for the KWA pipeline that spurred the water crisis. Despite the massive health implications of funding the $220 million municipal bond for Flint, the banks moved forward with the plan, prioritizing long term financial gain over the well-being of the area's residents.

Why This Matters: Plaintiffs’ attorneys argue without the bond financing to join the KWA, Flint would not have switched its water source to the Flint River. Improperly treated river water caused Flint’s water crisis. However, the banks are arguing that they were asked to line up financing for the pipeline and it had nothing to do with Flint’s water plant.

The issue with the pipeline itself was its dependence on the untreated water from the local Flint river, a tradeoff that would no doubt have adverse effects on Flint residents. This crisis is a glaring example of how capitalism and environmental racism can coexist to the detriment of Black communities. For Flint, the city is more than 50% Black with about 40% of the population living below the poverty line. If you couple this information with the potential for these banks to make a return on their investment, it’s easy to understand how this resulted in an ongoing national tragedy.

Situational Awareness: The case was filed last year and has largely been on the back burner while other Flint water civil lawsuits have made their way through the courts. Banks are not part of a $641 million settlement of civil claims against the state of Michigan, the city of Flint and others. The judge promised to issue a decision in the banks case as fast as she can.

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