Retired Pediatrician Asks for Evidentiary Hearing on Bone Scan Requirement in Flint Water Lawsuit

In a consolidated Flint, Michigan water lead contamination lawsuit, retired pediatrician and Flint, Michigan resident Dr. Lawrence A. Reynolds submitted a supplemental brief objecting to the final approval of the current settlement agreement, citing that during the fairness hearing held in the matter on July 15 the court invited additional briefing. 

Reynolds filed his initial objection in late February, when he argued in favor of the plaintiffs and claimed that the settlement did not contain health protections that the citizens of Flint should be entitled to.  Specifically, the doctor disagreed with the requirement in the settlement for the plaintiffs to receive bone lead testing, arguing that the XRF hand-held device used for the testing is not appropriate for use on the claimants because it has been approved only for samples and not for people. 

In the present supplemental objection, Reynolds further cited his objection to the use of XRF devices, and argued that the court cannot evaluate whether the settlement is fair without further assessment into the safety of using the devices on living humans and children. He alleged that “serious questions have been raised about the propriety, safety, efficacy, and methodology” of the use of XRF devices on residents of Flint previously. Further, Reynolds said that the manufacturer of XRF devices warns against their use on living humans and does not sell or lease the machines in cases where it believes they will be used on living humans. 

Reynolds also suggested that before approving the settlement the court should appoint a neutral expert or hold a hearing specifically to further consider this data. The plaintiff noted that the court does not have the ability to rewrite a settlement and adjust the bone scan requirement, so it should disapprove the settlement and suggest changes to the requirement. Further the pediatrician asked the parties to strike any provisions in the settlement that include or promote the use of XRF bone scans. 

“This supplemental brief does not seek to unnecessarily delay these proceedings or otherwise advance an improper purpose,” the filing said. “Instead Dr. Reynolds seeks to have the Court balance the need for expeditious proceedings and the Court’s inherent authority to manage its docket against the potential for additional harm to Class Members and the people of Flint.” 

Other plaintiffs have argued that the XRF bone lead tests have been determined safe by multiple doctors and that extending the deadline for bone scans would be prejudicial to plaintiffs who already completed the bone scans and obtained medical evidence that they were impacted by the contaminated water. 

The court is set to address the schedule and jury questionnaires for the first bellwether trials in the matter on July 27 and hear discovery disputes. Reynolds is represented by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP