The jury awards $100,000; woman says she lost her job over Flint data

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A jury has awarded $100,000 to a woman who says she lost her job after refusing to falsify blood test results of children exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint, said his lawyer on Tuesday.

April Cook-Hawkins worked at the Genesee County Health Department for about four to five months before she was forced to resign in 2016, her attorney, Carol Laughbaum, said.

The department said Cook-Hawkins was ousted for her performance, but the jury did not accept that reason last Friday and awarded $100,000 for emotional distress, Laughbaum said.

“They (the health department) said she was not a team player. Virtually nothing at trial showed that she was not a team player,” the attorney said.

Cook-Hawkins told jurors she was tasked with recording lead-level results that she knew were inaccurate.

“The county had two sets of records: blue sheets with actual test data and doctored versions, white sheets, with handwritten corrections showing perfect lead levels,” Laughbaum said.

Michael Edmunds, an attorney who represented then-nurse director Toni LaRocco, said he was disappointed with the outcome of the lawsuit.

“I am currently in the process of advising the county on its options,” he said.

Residents of the majority-black city were exposed to lead when the city drew water from the Flint River in 2014-15 without treating it to reduce the corrosive effect on old pipes. The city reverted to a regional water provider in the fall of 2015.

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