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Attorney says progress being made on possible Flint water crisis lawsuit settlement

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Attorneys say progress is being made toward potentially settling a class action lawsuit against the state in the Flint water crisis.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation for a variety of issues, including health problems and property damage related to the switch in the city’s water source back in 2014.  

The decision to switch was made by an emergency manager appointed by Michigan’s governor. 

Flint residents received an update Thursday night on the status of a class action lawsuit. About 18,000 people signed up to be part of the class action lawsuit.

Michael Pitt is the co-lead counsel in the class action. He believes recent court rulings havemovedthe two sides toward the settlement table.

“We have successfully cut off their legal options,” says Pitt. “The state of Michigan caused these people to suffer and suffer greatly and reparations are needed to make it right.”

Pitt says a potential settlement could include a mix of monetary damages and increased assistance to Flint residents, but he won’t put a timetable on reaching a settlement. 

Michigan Attorney General office spokesman Dan Olsen declined to comment saying they "don’t comment on ongoing litigation." 

The mood at Thursday night’s public meeting was generally positive.

The mood may be quite different at atown hall meetingFriday night focused on the criminal investigation.

Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy recently announced that they were dismissing criminal chargesagainst 8 current and former government officials. The prosecutors said they needed more time to review additional evidence that the previous prosecution team did not examine.

The charges were dismissed “without prejudice.” But by doing that, prosecutors left the door open to recharging the previous defendants or others. 

Many Flint residents were upset with the dismissal of the charges. They worry that those responsible for the Flint water crisis may not face justice.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.