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Settlement of Flint water crisis lawsuits takes significant step

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The resolution of legal claims in the Flint water crisishas taken a significant step.  

Detailsof a more than $641 million proposed  settlement of civil claims were filed in federal court on Tuesday.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office announced a $600 million settlement in August. But the settlement did not include all entities facing lawsuits for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis.

This week’s filing includes three of those entities.

McLaren Regional Medical Center has agreed to contribute $20 million to the settlement. Rowe Professional Services is contributing $1.25 million. 

Another $20 million is also earmarked from the city of Flint, if the city council agrees to transfer money from the city’s insurance provider.

“Submitting this settlement for preliminary approval is part of the legal process, but it is also an important step forward in providing the residents of Flint with relief,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Resolving these legal disputes against the State, and now the other defendants who have joined the settlement, is the best possible outcome for Flint’s future.”

The settlement agreement specifies that 18% of the net settlement funds go to adults and property damage, 79.5% to children, 2% to special education services in Genesee County, and .5% for business and economic loss.

If the settlement receives final court approval, the state attorney general's office says it is likely to be the largest in Michigan state government history. The settlement would resolve more than a hundred cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy will review the agreement as part of a motion for preliminary approval.  If preliminary approval is granted, then the claim registration process can begin, allowing Flint residents the opportunity to indicate their intention to file a claim.

Attorneys representing Flint residents call this week’s filing a step toward providing the community a measure of justice.

"We hope that this settlement with the State of Michigan can begin the process of closing one of the most difficult chapters in the State's history and believe it will provide some level of relief for the people of Flint who have suffered greatly,” says Hunter Shkolnik, court appointed co-liaison Counsel and partner in Napoli Shkolnik.

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.