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Hagens Berman: Appeals Court Overturns Decision, Allows Class-Action Lawsuit over Tainted Chicago Lead Pipes to Continue

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Attorneys see massive win of the residents of Chicago in lawsuit
against the city

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/chicago?src=hash” target=”_blank”gt;#chicagolt;/agt;–In a 2-to-1 decision from the Illinois Appellate Court, a
class-action lawsuit against the city of Chicago
, alleging that the
city knowingly engaged in construction projects that increased the risk
of toxic levels of lead in residents’ tap water, has been revived and is
allowed to continue, according to Hagens Berman.

The decision to dismiss the case made by the Circuit Court of Cook
County has now been reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

“We can reasonably infer from these allegations that plaintiffs and
their families drank the contaminated water serviced to their homes,
thus exposing their bodies, and the organs, tissues, and bones therein,
to lead,” the opinion
reads. “…Even low levels of lead exposure in children ‘have been linked
to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning
disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation
and function of blood cells.’”

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The lawsuit seeks a fund to pay for medical testing to detect elevated
blood-lead levels and to assure residents are made aware of the hazards
and effects of contamination. The suit says the city also failed to warn
residents of the risks or provide accurate directions on how to reduce
the risk of lead contamination. The lawsuit also seeks compensation from
the city to replace their lead service lines under a theory of inverse
condemnation, claiming that the city’s construction has irreversibly
damaged their property.

The lawsuit, originally filed on Feb. 17, 2016 in the Circuit Court of
Cook County, Illinois, states that the city’s aging lead water pipes are
disturbed by construction or street work, meter installation or
replacement, or plumbing repairs. These projects disrupt the
polyphosphate coating that protects the service lines and increases the
risk of “alarming levels of lead” into nearby residents’ water supply,
according to the lawsuit. Nearly 80 percent of the properties in Chicago
receive drinking water via outdated, brittle lead pipes that are cut and
greatly disturbed by the city’s water and sewer main projects.

“When we filed this case in 2016, we did so under the belief that the
city of Chicago has ultimately failed to uphold its duties to its
residents by putting the health and safety of Chicagoans at risk,” said
Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “We are incredibly
pleased that the appellate court has seen our side of this issue, and we
look forward to continuing to pursue this action concerning this public
health issue with the utmost urgency.”

Berman, who was raised in Chicago, added that “The city has let its
residents down and turned a blind eye to its own. Hundreds of thousands
of residents are suffering in plain sight.”

According to expert Marc Edwards, drinking Chicago tap water,
particularly where the city has conducted a water main replacement
project, is “like a game of Russian roulette.”

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If you are a resident of Chicago and believe you have been put at risk
of lead contamination due to the city’s disruptive construction projects
and lack of information, you may be entitled to medical monitoring and
other compensation from the city. Contact
Hagens Berman’s legal team about the class-action lawsuit on behalf of
Chicago residents.

Attorneys say the incidence of lead poisoning among Chicago children
living in older homes is several hundred percent higher than children
living in similar homes in other cities. The complaint states that
Chicago’s public water system contains millions of lead pipe service
lines throughout the city and that since 2008, the city of Chicago has
been modernizing its water system, replacing water mains and pipes that
date to the 1800s. It has conducted more than 1,600 water main and sewer
replacement projects since Jan. 1, 2009 that directly affect the water
supply to Chicago residents.

Find
out more about the class-action lawsuit against the city of Chicago
regarding toxic lead water contamination.

About
Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law
firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive
for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards
and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers
of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be
found at www.hbsslaw.com.
Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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Contacts

Ashley Klann
[email protected]
206-268-9363


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