Plaintiffs' Firms Tussle Over Flint Water Crisis Litigation

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April 12, 2018

Nationally known plaintiffs’ firms Cohen Milstein and Napoli Shkolnik have each asked a federal judge to remove the other from their positions in litigation over the Flint water crisis, Forbes Legal Newsline reports. Cohen Milstein, current interim co-lead class counsel, has complained that Napoli Shkolnik, current liaison counsel, is unfairly presenting itself as leading the litigation, and filed a motion to remove Shkolnik on March 13. According to Cohen Milstein, the most egregious example of Shkolnik’s misconduct came when the firm hired CSI: New York star Harper Hill to act as celebrity emcee at a town hall meeting on the water litigation, at which Shkolnik retainer agreements were passed out to attendees and a councilman encouraged them to sign.

In response, Napoli Shkolnik has called Cohen Milstein’s claims “nothing but a retaliatory smear campaign,” designed to give the rival firm complete control of the litigation “so that they can line their own pockets.” Shkolnik filed a counter motion on April 9, seeking to defend themselves from Cohen Milstein’s motion and to have the firm discharged as interim class counsel. The outcome of this contest between the firms could have a significant impact on the course of the Flint litigation.