Flint, MI– McLaren Hospital may be reducing their contributions to the $641.25 million Flint water lawsuit settlement.

The settlement, announced in August of last year, would resolve all litigation related to the water crisis against the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Rowe Engineering, and McLaren Hospital.  

The State of Michigan is contributing $600 million, the City of Flint is contributing $20 million, Rowe Engineering is contributing $1.25 million, and McLaren Hospital is set to contribute $20 million. 

But it’s possible the hospital may reduce their contributions or withdraw from the agreement entirely.

In the settlement agreement, all of the defendants have the right to rescind, or “walk away,” from the settlement under certain circumstances.

McLaren, specifically, has the right to walk away from the settlement agreement only if people who allege exposure to Legionella at McLaren Flint Hospital do not register for the settlement. Since a majority of those people did not register for the settlement, McLaren therefore has the legal right to leave the settlement, according to the settlement agreement. 

Now McLaren, and other parties in the settlement, are having discussions about whether McLaren can reduce their contributions, rather than just walking away entirely. Either way, those who registered to take part in the settlement will be left with a smaller aggregate amount of money.

This issue should be coming before the Flint City Council in the coming weeks, and briefly appeared on the council agenda last month. 

On July 20, the city administration added a resolution to the city council’s agenda requesting their approval of an amendment to the settlement agreement “to allow the McLaren Defendants to remain parties to the Settlement Agreement at a reduced contribution.”

City Attorney Angela Wheeler said the matter was going to be discussed in executive session during the committee meeting on July 21, but the item was removed from the agenda before the meeting. 

U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy preliminarily approved the settlement in January. On July 12, 13, and 15, Levy held hearings where she heard objections from lawyers and residents regarding the terms of the settlement. She has not yet made a decision about the fairness of the settlement, and whether to grant it final approval.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...