The state of Michigan and other defendants are expected to pay $600 million to Flint residents after a settlement was reached in the Flint water crisis lawsuit.
Additional defendants in the settlement include the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and former Gov. Rick Snyder. Two private engineering firms have been charged with professional negligence and will continue to go through litigation. Almost 80% of a court-monitored victim’s compensation fund will go to those who were minors at the time of the crisis. Concerns about Flint’s water were raised by the city residents and the EPA more than half a decade ago. The EPA said the city’s water contained dangerous levels of lead, which can affect the heart, kidneys, and nerves.
According to a news release from the interim co-lead class counsel for victims of the water crisis, the partial settlement was “the result of 5 years of litigation and 18 months of court supervised negotiations.” The release also stated that the Interim Co-lead Counsel will continue to pursue claims against the remaining defendants on behalf of certain residents and local businesses affected by the water crisis.
“What happened in Flint should have never happened, and financial compensation with this settlement is just one of the many ways we can continue to show our support for the city of Flint and its families,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “We hear and respect those voices and understand that healing Flint will take a long time…The uncertainty and troubles that the people of Flint have endured is unconscionable. It is time for the State to do what it can and take this critical step forward so that we can keep working towards the brighter future that the people of Flint and our entire state deserve.”
Anyone who was living in Flint between 2014 and 2016 could be eligible for a claim. The payments are expected to be distributed beginning in spring 2021.