Virginia Tech’s Marc Edwards Sues For $3 Million Over Flint Residents’ Complaint Letter in an Effort to Silence Concerns
Lawsuit To Silence Concerned Flint Residents A Dangerous Attack On Free Speech As Threats To Clean Water Spread
“After receiving a $1.9 million EPA grant, Marc Edwards declares himself the real victim and demands a pound of flesh from two clean water advocates and a Flint mother who can’t afford water coming out of the tap. Edwards now pleads to a court in Christiansburg, Virginia to shut down the debate over Flint.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Bill Moran
Just before closing for the July 4th holiday, lawyers for Virginia Tech’s celebrity water scientist Marc Edwards issued a lawsuit demanding $3 million before ignoring emails for over a week. The lawsuit concocts a sprawling conspiracy theory in an attempt to silence and obscure the complaint signed by sixty Flint residents highlighting Edwards’ offensive behavior.
Named in the case are clean water advocate Paul Schwartz, Marc Edwards’ former co-researcher Yanna Lambrinidou, and Flint resident Melissa Mays. “This full-on assault on free speech and debate over the City of Flint is ghastly,” said Bill Moran, counsel for Mays, Schwartz and Lambrinidou.
The lawsuit would drag Mays from her home in Flint, Michigan to a courtroom halfway across the country. Moran questions, “Why does Marc Edwards want a jury in Christiansburg, Virginia — which may as well be another planet — to decide the fate of Flint? Why not bring this case in Flint?”
“Edwards and his attorneys’ lawsuit should alarm the public,” said Moran. He explains that their refusal to serve process or accept a waiver of said service amounts to straightjacketing his clients, placing them in legal purgatory where they can neither defend themselves nor have the case dismissed.
“Counsel for Edwards has intimated their intention to hold this frivolous $3 million lawsuit over my clients’ heads for an entire year. Edwards’ lawyers have applied litigation like masking tape over the mouths of my clients. They wish to stifle my clients’ rights to weigh in on what should be done next in the City of Flint and advocate for the community,” Moran said.
Preferring to operate in the shadows, Marc Edwards’ attorneys further hinted that they would sue Moran if he published correspondence between the attorneys about this lawsuit and their refusal to serve his clients properly.
“We will not negotiate in the face of terroristic legal threats and make no mistake this lawsuit is intended to terrorize despite being dressed up in the language of litigation,” Moran said. “Edwards knows that none of my clients have $3 million. Marc Edwards’ case stands for the idea that might makes right, and that if you’re poor the First Amendment does not protect you.”
Academics including Michigan State’s Stephen Gasteyer issued a statement today in support of the letter by Flint residents at the center of this litigation saying, ‘the signatories to the letter feel that Edwards is wrongly claiming to speak for the citizens of Flint, that he is “taking Flint residents’ voice away.”’
“We are concerned that [Marc Edwards’] intent to contact the signatories and to file a defamation suit might be experienced by residents as an attempt to silence them,” the academics warned.
UPDATE: After Defendants’ counsel informed Mr. Edwards’ team of high-priced lawyers of his intent to go public with the correspondence between attorneys, they finally agreed to serve process within 10 days.