Daily Briefs

Class-action lawsuit seeks sweeping help for Flint students

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Several families have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Michigan and the Flint school district, saying more needs to be done to help students whose academic performance and behavior have worsened since drinking the city’s lead-tainted water.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, says there “has been no effective response” to the lead-related problems faced by children in Flint’s public schools. Families say the state Education Department, the Flint district and a countywide district are not complying with laws intended to help disabled students.

The state declined to comment. There was no immediate response from Flint.

While Flint used the Flint River as a water source for 18 months, lead leached from old pipes because the water wasn’t properly treated. Lead affects the brain and nervous system.


Lawyer: Man has free speech defense in threat during funeral

DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer for an ex-convict charged with using the internet to threaten police officers who attended the funeral of a Detroit officer says there’s a strong First Amendment defense in the case.

The FBI says Deshawn Lanton threatened to “drop a bomb” on a St. Clair Shores church Sept. 23 during the funeral of Sgt. Ken Steil, who was shot while chasing a suspect. Investigators say the threat was made on Facebook as the service was streamed live.

Court-appointed lawyer Rafael Villarruel tells The Macomb Daily that Lanton was exercising his right to free speech.

The FBI says Lanton is on probation and has convictions for fleeing police, resisting police and other crimes. Police Chief James Craig has said he will “relentlessly” pursue anyone who threatens a Detroit officer.


Court bows out; no liability for Lansing in woman’s death

LANSING (AP) — After hearing arguments, the Michigan Supreme Court has dropped a case that involved the death of a 45-year-old woman with asthma and the work of Lansing paramedics.

The decision means there’s no liability for the Lansing fire department and paramedics. Tracy McLain’s husband insists she suffered irreversible brain damage and died in 2009 after a breathing tube was mistakenly placed in her esophagus instead of her trachea. Lawyers for Lansing dispute that the tube was in the wrong place.

The Michigan appeals court said immunity applied because there wasn’t evidence of “gross negligence or willful misconduct.” The Supreme Court last week said it won’t upset that decision.