Flint, MI– A federal judge has ordered a deadline extension to submit Flint water crisis lawsuit settlement claims in light of the “difficulties” and “confusion” registrants have faced in the process.
On May 9, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy extended the deadline from May 12 to now June 30, 2022, to ensure that all registrants have enough time to submit claims.
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.
According to officials, more than 85,000 registration forms were submitted by the registration deadline. But registration was only the first step. To be awarded money from the settlement, registrants must also submit a claim.
Settlement Special Master Deborah Greenspan reported on May 9—three days before the original claims submission deadline— that the Claims Administrator has only received approximately 13,000 claims so far.
“In monitoring the process, it has become clear that many registrants and counsel have faced difficulties in obtaining some of the necessary documents and compiling the required information,” Greenspan wrote in the report. “Some individuals have also expressed confusion about the settlement process and mistakenly believed that registering for the settlement was sufficient to recover under the settlement and did not understand that they also needed to submit Claim Forms and Claims Materials.”
The claims period began on Jan. 12, 2022, and was initially supposed to last for 120 days. Greenspan recommended the deadline extension to give registrants an additional 49 days to finish submitting their claims.
“It is clear that the process of obtaining certain documents has proven to be more time consuming than anticipated, and in order to assure the most orderly process … it would be helpful and appropriate to extend the deadline for submission of claims for a short period of time,” Greenspan wrote. “In making this observation, I am mindful that it is essential to have a firm deadline and to bring the process to an end. At the same time, it is important to assist those who are still working on their claims and to give them sufficient time to complete the process.”
The same day Greenspan submitted this report, Levy ordered the extension of the claims submission deadline to June 30.
Those who filled out registration forms online should have been notified about the claims process by email. Those who submitted a hard copy of a registration form should have received claims forms as a hard copy in the mail.
If a registrant has changed addresses, they need to alert the claims administrator to ensure they get the forms mailed to the correct place. To do that, or ask any other questions about the claims process, call (800) 493-1754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the official settlement website, registrants should keep the claims administrator updated on any changes in contact information, including new addresses and email addresses, to ensure they are notified about the claims process. To do this, registrants can call the helpline or email email@example.com.
The official website provides instructions for filling out a claim online. Also on the website are a number of resources and guides to filling out the claims forms, including documents entitled “Top 5 Helpful Tips for completing your Forms” and “Claims Form Guide.” There are Spanish and Arabic translations of all of these documents.
Once claims have been submitted, they must be reviewed and evaluated before any payments can be made.
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.