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Flint, MI– A federal judge has given the Flint water crisis lawsuit settlement final approval.
“The settlement reached here is a remarkable achievement for many reasons,” U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy wrote in her 178-page decision published on Nov. 10.
The $626.25 million settlement, announced in August 2020, will resolve all litigation related to the water crisis against the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Rowe Engineering, and McLaren Hospital. It is one of the largest settlements in the state’s history.
The State of Michigan is contributing $600 million, the City of Flint is contributing $20 million, and Rowe Engineering is contributing $1.25 million. McLaren Hospital was originally going to contribute $20 million but reduced their contributions to $5 million despite objections from the Flint City Council.
The settlement prioritizes children, with 79.5% of funds allocated to minors, 15% for adults, 3% for property owners, and 2% for special education services in Genesee County, and 0.5% will go to business and economic loss. The terms of the settlement are detailed in a 71-page agreement which can be viewed online here.
Residents have protested and objected to the settlement amount since it was announced last year.
In the same month the settlement was announced, community leaders protested the amount, saying it was not enough. In December, residents protested again and called the settlement a “slap in the face, and a kick in the behind.”
With preliminary approval, residents were given a two-month window to opt in, opt out, or file objections. Since then, according to Levy’s final written decision, more than 85,000 Registration Forms were submitted by the registration deadline.
Levy heard from a number of residents who filed objections during a series of hearings in July to determine the fairness of the settlement.
Now that Levy has issued final approval and denied all objections related to compensation, bone lead level testing, cognitive deficit testing, allocation of funds for minors versus adults, and more, the settlement can move forward, and the claims process can begin.
Once the claims period starts, those registered for the settlement will be notified to submit evidence, various documentation showing harm or damage due to the Flint water crisis, and other materials.
Those who registered for the settlement online will receive an email notification about the claims process. Those who registered by mail will be notified through the mail.
Registrants will have 120 days from the moment the claims period begins to submit their claims.