Monday was not a good day for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon.
Genesee District Judge David Goggins ruled there was enough evidence for him to go trial on one count of misconduct in office and two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder, who prosecutors say died as a result of Legionnaires’ disease, reports Ron Fonger of the Flint Journal. He also faces one misdemeanor count of willful neglect of duty.
Lyons is the highest-ranking of 15 current and former city and state government officials charged with criminal wrongdoing in the Flint water and Legionnaires’ disease crisis. He has remained on the job in Gov. Rick Snyder’s cabinet since he was first charged.
In the Lyon case, special prosecutor Todd Flood alleged the director failed to protect the public when he could have mandated a change in the city’s water source because of the threat to the public’s health.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services “has found no demonstrated clustering of non-healthcare related cases in patients with residences serviced by the Flint water system,” DHHS said in an news release issued Tuesday, May 29, with a new report on the Legionnaires’ outbreaks in 2014 and 2015.
Two university studies have pointed to Flint’s water as the likely trigger of outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease during the time the city used the Flint River as its water source. DHHS has maintained that exposure to McLaren-Flint hospital — not Flint water — is the only explanation for the surge in cases here.