US Supreme Court says Flint officials are not immune to being sued over water crisis

APRIL 2014: In an effort to save money, Flint began drawing its water from the Flint River instead of relying on water from Detroit.

The move was considered temporary while the city waited to connect to a new regional water system.

Residents immediately complained about the smell, taste and appearance of the water.

They also raised health concerns, reporting rashes, hair loss and other problems.

SUMMER 2014: Three boil-water advisories were issued in 22 days after positive tests for coliform bacteria.

OCTOBER 2014: A General Motors engine plant stopped using Flint water, saying it rusted parts.

JANUARY 2015: Flint sought an evaluation of its efforts to improve the water amid concerns that it contained potentially harmful levels of a disinfection byproduct.

Detroit offered to reconnect Flint to its water system but city officials worried they’d be paying higher water costs.

JAN. 28, 2015: Flint residents snapped up 200 cases of bottled water in 30 minutes in a giveaway program. More giveaways followed in ensuing months.

FEB. 3, 2015: State officials pledged $2 million for Flint’s troubled water system.

FEBRUARY 2015: A 40-member advisory committee was formed to address concerns over Flint’s water.

Mayor Dayne Walling said the committee would ensure the community was involved in the issue.

MARCH 19, 2015: Flint promised to spend $2.24 million on immediate improvements to its water supply.

MARCH 27, 2015: Flint officials said the quality of its water had improved and that testing found the water met all state and federal standards for safety.

SEPT. 24, 2015: A group of doctors led by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Hurley Medical Center urged Flint to stop using the Flint River for water after finding high levels of lead in the blood of children. State regulators insisted the water was safe.

SEPT. 29, 2015: Gov. Rick Snyder pledged to take action in response to the lead levels. It was the first acknowledgment by the state that lead was a problem.

OCT. 2, 2015: Snyder announced that the state would spend $1 million to buy water filters and test water in Flint public schools.

OCT. 8, 2015: Snyder called for Flint to go back to using water from Detroit’s system again.

OCT. 15, 2015: The Michigan Legislature and Snyder approved nearly $9.4 million in aid to Flint, including $6 million to help switch its drinking water back to Detroit.

The legislation also included money for water filters, inspections and lab testing.

NOV. 3, 2015: Voters elected newcomer Karen Weaver over incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling amid fallout over the drinking water.

DEC. 29, 2015: Snyder accepted the resignation of Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant and apologized for what occurred in Flint.

JAN. 5, 2016: Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint, the same day federal officials confirmed that they were investigating.

JAN. 12, 2016: Snyder activated the Michigan National Guard to help distribute bottled, water and filters in Flint and asked the federal government for help.

JAN. 13, 2016: Michigan health officials reported an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases during periods over the past two years in the county that includes Flint.

JAN. 14, 2016: Snyder asked the Obama administration for major disaster declaration and more federal aid.

JAN. 16, 2016: President Barack Obama signed emergency declaration and ordered federal aid for Flint, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate relief efforts.

APRIL 2016: Governor Rick Snyder hit back at critics who said he should be charged. Snyder said he believes he’s done nothing criminally wrong.

JULY 2016: Six state employees in Michigan criminally charged in connection with the case.  

FEB. 16, 2017: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention find the first genetic link from Legionnaire’s disease to Flint’s water supply.

JUNE 14, 2017: Attorney General Bill Schuette charges five officials with involuntary manslaughter.

MAY 10, 2018: Mayor Karen Weaver announces Nestle will donate 1.6 million bottles of water until Labor Day 2018. 

JANUARY 2019: A three-judge panel ruled against state and local officials arguing they should be immune from being sued.

JANUARY 2020: The US Supreme Court rejects an appeal from the officials, allowing the residents’ lawsuits to proceed.

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