Attorneys representing thousands of kids provide update on federal lawsuit over lead in Jackson’s drinking water

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Attorneys representing around 1,800 kids in the capital city provide updates on a federal lawsuit filed nearly a year ago.

The suit accuses the city and the state health department of allowing Jackson’s drinking water to become contaminated with lead.

Jackson resident Charles Wilson III no longer uses the water that comes out of the tap at his home.

That’s because he believes the condition of the water led to his son’s ADHD and various developmental issues.

“It only takes a little bit of lead to mess up a child,” he said.

They’re issues he hopes the state of Mississippi and the city of Jackson will be partially responsible for financially, which is why he’s part of the lawsuit.

“What scares me more than anything is... how much more will this affect him as he gets older,” Wilson said.

The lead attorney in the case, Corey Stern, was also a lead attorney for plaintiffs in the Flint, Michigan water case which ended with a 626-million-dollar settlement.

Stern hopes to have similar success in Jackson where he said city leaders learned of lead problems in its well water system back in 2013 and didn’t fix it.

He also feels the very same things that led to the current federal emergency declaration are what led to kids being led poisoned for years on end. That’s a mismanaged and underfunded water system.

“What’s happened in Jackson has made national news, but we’ve been here since October of last year. We’ve been researching and studying the problems in Jackson for the last five years,” Stern said. “It takes time to develop a case or a story, but now the story is telling itself.”

Stern said the lawsuit is at least a few years away from being resolved.

He said the defendants in the case asked the judge to throw it out, which also happened in the Flint case.

The attorney expects the judge to deny that request and schedule a hearing.

That way, he said, his team can move forward with holding city and state leaders accountable for what people like Wilson and his son have to battle with.

“Water is one of the basic things you need in life,” Wilson said. “Who would’ve thought it would poison our children?”

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