Nick Lyon, the head of Michigan’s health department, will stand trial on two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder, both of whom died of Legionnaire’s disease. Lyon could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted. He was also charged with misconduct in office.

Lyon is currently the highest-ranking official, of the 14 who have been charged with crimes related to either the outbreak of Legionnaire’s or lead in the water, to stand trial.


It is very likely that had Lyon alerted the public about the disease in a more timely manner, their deaths could have been prevented. The judge called this behavior neglectful and corrupt, saying he failed to protect the lives of the two men by not acting “appropriately with regards to disseminating notices to the public.”1


“Some experts said the Legionnaire’s outbreak that infected 90 people and caused 12 deaths in Genesee County was a result of Flint’s water not being properly treated when it was drawn from the city’s river in 2014 and 2015.

The Legionnaire’s outbreak was announced by Gov. Rick Snyder and Lyon in January 2016 — but Lyon said he knew that cases were being reported months earlier.”2


The office of current state Attorney General Bill Schuette- who is also the Republican candidate for governor-  is running an investigation into how Flint’s water system became contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead.

Sources and References

  1. NY Post, August 21, 2018.
  2. NY Post, August 21, 2018.