Flint, MI—Residents have less than one week to opt in, make objections, or opt out of the $641.25 million Flint water lawsuit settlement.
Those who do not opt in or directly opt out by March 29 will be giving up their ability to receive any settlement funds, or file any future legal claims to the defendants in the case–the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Rowe Engineering, and McLaren Hospital.
The State of Michigan announced the settlement, which would resolve all litigation related to the water crisis against the defendants, in August of last year. U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy preliminarily approved the terms of the settlement in January, giving residents a two-month window to register.
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.
To register for the settlement, or view documents with information regarding the settlement, visit the official website here.
Residents can also visit the Flint Water Office located at 1188 Robert T. Longway, in the strip of offices behind the Holiday Inn Express. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Following COVID-19 safety protocols, residents can visit the office to fill out their registration forms online or on paper.
Those who choose to opt out of the settlement may pursue legal action as an individual with their own attorney. To opt out, you must mail a written request on the form attached as Exhibit 14, which can be found here on Page 809, to: Flint Water Settlement Program 1775 St. James Place Suite 200, Houston TX 77056.
Those who do not want to be a part of the settlement, but do not send in an opt out form, will not be able to file their own lawsuit against the defendants in the settlement. You cannot ask to opt out of the settlement by phone, email, or at the website.
Those who opt in to the settlement have the opportunity to voice their concerns to Judge Levy about the fairness of the settlement by filing objections. Judge Levy is holding a public hearing July 12 to determine the fairness of the settlement, and listen to objections.
According to the settlement documents (you can view them here) on page 15, the objections must be in writing and include a detailed statement/ of your objections, specific reasons for them, your printed name, address, telephone number, date of birth, and written evidence establishing that you are a settlement class member. It must also include “any other supporting papers, materials, or briefs you wish the Federal Court to consider when reviewing the objection,” and your dated signature, not an electronic signature.
The document also says that your objection must be filed with the Clerk of the Court by first-class United States Mail so that it is received no later than March 29, 2021. The address of the Court is: Clerk of the Court United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Room 599 Detroit, MI 48226.
Councilman Eric Mays and Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter created an objection form last week to assist residents in filing their objections. The form includes information about the fairness hearing, space for the resident to list any of their own personal objections, as well as a list of pre-written objections that Winfrey-Carter and Mays came up with.
Mays said because of the March 29 deadline, residents can drop off their objections at the Kenneth M. Scott law office located at 2702 Flushing Road by March 26, and they will mail all of the objections to the court using express overnight shipping.
Residents can also go to that law office to pick up a physical copy of the objection form, or download it here to print and fill out: