FLINT, MI – Seven lawyers representing Flint residents in water crisis claims against the state of Michigan, the city of Flint and others have abruptly withdrawn their motion to suspend the use of portable bone scanning devices as part of a proposed $ 641 million settlement Cases.
A motion filed on Monday, March 1, asked U.S. District Court judge Judith Levy to stop the exam pending a hearing. Less than 24 hours later, after meeting the judge, the attorneys filed a one-sentence notice to the court that they would withdraw the motion.
MLive-The Flint Journal was unable to immediately reach two of the lawyers – Theodore J. Leopold and Michael L. Pitt – who filed the revocation request and were hired by Levy to lead negotiations that resulted in the historic settlement already obtained from preliminary approvals Federal and state judges.
The sudden change puts Flint residents in trouble again to secure the bone scans that measure the levels of lead exposure in adults and children, and can result in much larger claims for damages in the settlement process.
The bone scans are only available in Flint if they are performed using portable devices by the Napoli Shkolnik law firm. Access to the tests is limited to one day per week for those who are not clients of the law firm.
There is no court-administered bone-lead testing program for all other residents who claim to have been harmed by flint water while the Flint River was being used as the city’s source of drinking water.
In their initial request to suspend the use of bone lead tests, Leopold and Pitt said they were trying to make the tests more accessible to residents, but found that the manufacturer of the portable test devices “is refusing to sell the device to buyers who intend to use it for human applications. ”
The file states that they “continued to investigate the use of the device with a team of researchers from the University of Michigan but learned that the university would not be participating in such a program” until the equipment was found to be safe for children and is effective.
In the initial call to stop the bone scans, Pitt and Leopold argued that the handheld devices used by Napoli Shkolnik had not been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being safe and effective for diagnosing lead exposure in humans.
Napoli Shkolnik’s Paul Napoli told MLive-The Flint Journal on Monday March 1 that the bone lead tests his company offers are safe – similar to an X-ray from a dentist or doctor – and effective in measuring the extent of Lead in a person’s body.
This week’s legal battle over the bone scans comes just days after Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, who serves as health advisor to Mayor Sheldon Neeley, has appealed to the U.S. District Court against both the resolution of the water crisis and reliance on bone scans to measure lead exposure.
Reynolds told Neeley on a Facebook broadcast that bone testing devices used in Flint were never “designed for human use – not at all”.
“This is a human rights violation. It’s the Tuskegee experiment again … “Reynolds said during the broadcast.
The $ 641 million water crisis resolution is the result of mediation between lawyers for Flint residents who claim to have been harmed by Flint water and the state of Michigan. The state was later incorporated into the settlement by the City of Flint, McLaren Regional Medical Center, and Rowe Professional Services, each of whom agreed to contribute to the settlement fund in exchange for being barred from water crisis claims against them in state and federal courts were.
Blood tests, bone scans, and neurological exams can dramatically affect the number of individual checks that residents involved in the settlement ultimately receive, but the bone scans have been difficult to come by.
Last week, a website operated on behalf of the U.S. District Court to share information about the settlement offered a link to schedule the scans at the Napoli Shkolnik Clinic for those who are not customers of the company.
Less than a day after the link went online, every available time slot was fully occupied.
On Wednesday, March 3rd, eight time slots were available for the next few weeks.
Read more about MLive:
The Flint Mayor’s health advisor calls the lead-lead testing in the water settlement “a human rights violation.”
Lawyers for Flint residents urge the judge to stop bone lead testing in resolving water crises
Bone tests for lead are increasing in Flint, but appointments fill up almost immediately