Contempt Motion Filed against City of Flint and Mayor for Failing to Meet Court Deadlines in Lead Pipe Replacement Settlement

DETROIT, MI – The City of Flint and Mayor Sheldon Neeley should be held in contempt for violating a February 2023 federal court order requiring Flint to reach certain milestones in its lead pipe replacement program, according to a motion filed today in the lead-contaminated drinking water case against the City of Flint and Michigan state officials. Plaintiffs in Concerned Pastors for Social Action v. Khouri have filed five motions to enforce the landmark 2017 settlement agreement, due to persistent and ongoing violations by the City of Flint. 

“We’re approaching a decade without safe drinking water in Flint; that’s a lifetime for many of Flint’s children. It’s unacceptable that, even after we’ve come back to court several times and won, our officials are failing to finish the job,” said Melissa Mays, one of the plaintiffs in the case and Operations Manager of Flint Rising.   

“Just three months ago, Flint agreed to new deadlines, which the City has already failed to meet,” said Pastor Allen C. Overton of Concerned Pastors for Social Action, one of the plaintiffs in the federal drinking water case. “While this news is disconcerting, the people of Flint refuse to let these failures be the status quo and will continue to hold the City and Mayor accountable until every lead pipe has been replaced.” 

The City of Flint within weeks began violating the February court order requiring it to reach certain critical milestones needed to finally finish lead pipe replacement and property restoration work. Among other violations, the City missed a key May 1 deadline to fill in the gaps in tracking restorations. As a result, the City still does not know how many addresses require property repairs, in clear violation of requirements it agreed to under the order.  
“The City of Flint’s ongoing failures to finish the job it committed to in 2017 are causing new harms to the Flint community. Thousands of residents have waited—some for years—for the City to fix their torn-up lawns or broken sidewalks. We will continue to hold the City accountable until every Flint resident gets the benefits guaranteed to them,” said Sarah Tallman, a senior attorney with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)

The motion filed today with federal Judge David M. Lawson asked the Court to find the City of Flint and Mayor Neeley in contempt of court and order a daily fine of $500 payable to the Court until the City fixes its violations, as well as permission to seek attorneys’ fees for future work to enforce the settlement agreement. 

"Flint residents deserve better. Today we are asking the court to hold the City and its mayor accountable for the obligations they agreed to, to bring clean safe drinking water back to the City of Flint, ensure that residents' lead pipes are replaced, and that their properties are restored. We will not rest until that is achieved," said Bonsitu Kitaba, Deputy Legal Director for the ACLU of Michigan. 



NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.  

The ACLU of Michigan is a nonpartisan nonprofit that works to protect and expand the civil rights and civil liberties of all people. 

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