JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A lawsuit was filed against the City of Jackson and former state leaders nearly a year ago, accusing them of knowing about lead in the water.
On Wednesday, September 14, attorneys representing nearly 2,000 children who are part of the lawsuit made a visit to the capital city to meet with those families and to sign up more plaintiffs.
One father believes his son may have developmental issues from contaminated drinking water. Charles Wilson III lives in Jackson, and he said he always gave his son tap water.
“My son has been drinking the water in Jackson all his life. Since the time he was a baby, I was basically fixing everything with water. Tap water,” he said.
Wilson said his son has several disorders and believes it could be due to lead poisoning in the water.
“Now my son has not just ADHD, but developmental and emotional disorders. Those are some of the biggest problems that we’re dealing with right now. Majority of the people you see in here are having the same problems,” he said.
Wilson’s son is just one of about 1,800 children who are part of a lawsuit that was filed in October 2021. According to the complaint, city leaders found out lead levels were going up in the well water in 2014 and didn’t make sure it was safe when switching to a new water source. The lawsuit was filed by Corey Stern, a partner at Levy Konigsberg, who won a more than $600 million settlements after Flint, Michigan’s water crisis.
“This wouldn’t have happened in Oxford. In Michigan, it wouldn’t have happened in places like West Bloomfield. It happens to the people who are the most susceptible to harm because they can not afford governmentally to do all the things that are required of them. They have to make hard choice. All the cases are very similar. They’re all streamline. We have a judge who has kind of taken this thing by the horns and he wants this done quickly. I’d be shocked if this could be done in less than three years, I’d also be shocked if it takes seven like Flint,” said Stern.
He and other attorneys with Levy Konigsberg came to Jackson to meet with their clients and to talk to more parents who believe the water may have harmed their children. Families said they hope this case helps spark change in the city’s water infrastructure system.
“Politicians who have kicked the can down the road, I know that they will not apologize. But I hoped that the EPA and federal government would come in and punish those who did what they did. If you don’t punish them, it’s going to continue,” said Wilson.
Stern said the defendant filed a motion for Judge Carlton Reeves to drop the case. His office filed responses on why is shouldn’t be thrown out, and are now waiting for a hearing to be scheduled.