First Lawsuit Filed Over Summit Elementary Water Contamination

by Julie Grant, originally posted on February 07, 2017


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some legal trouble may be brewing for the Butler Area School District over the high levels of lead found in the drinking water at Summit Elementary School.

A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the district and its superintendent. There is only one plaintiff so far, but the lawyers are intending it as a class action suit. The court would make the ultimate decision as to whether to certify it as a class action claim.

The one plaintiff is a minor female student. Her attorneys held a press conference Tuesday to announce it in hopes others will join in.

The lawsuit alleges the district and superintendent were negligent in failing to warn and failing to protect the students when test results in August of 2016 showed unacceptable lead levels in the drinking water.

The school’s water supply is drawn from two wells on the property. Test results from an independent company showed the levels of lead and copper exceeded what are acceptable water standards.

The lawsuit is asking for the district to be responsible for the medical monitoring of students. Attorneys for the plaintiff student acknowledge a blood test was offered for the students but want more testing to be done and treatment to be required if necessary.

“A little bit of lead in a child’s system is too much lead and we want to know whether the school has contacted the Department of Health or any other health agencies out there to get input,” said plaintiff attorney Brendan Lupetin.

Plaintiff attorney Douglas Olcott added, “We’re concerned that a single blood test at the very early stages may not be enough to address what is going to be the long-term implication, if any, for these young students.”

The complaint does not detail the injuries of the plaintiff in this case. It lays out a list of medical problems that she and potential classmates have or could develop in the future as a result of excessive lead exposure. The complaint said she has been evaluated and will need future medical treatment.

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