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Federal judge allows McLaren Flint Hospital to reduce contribution to Flint water crisis settlement

McLaren Hospital in Flint.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A federal judge says she’ll allow one of the defendants in the Flint water crisis civil lawsuit to reduce its share of the master settlement.

A year ago, McLaren Flint Hospital joined the state of Michigan, the city of Flint and a local engineering firm to create a $641 million pool to pay civil claims tied to the Flint water crisis.

Switching the city's drinking water source in 2014 resulted in improperly treated water that damaged water pipes and exposed tens of thousands of Flint residents and others to elevated lead levels and other contaminants in their tap water.

More than 50,000 people opted into the settlement. It's still being reviewed by a federal judge.

McLaren Flint Hospital had committed $20 million to the master settlement. Hospital officials sought protection from lawsuits tied to Legionnaires' Disease cases the state linked to McLaren Flint.

But many of those plaintiffs opted out of the Flint master settlement, opting instead to sue the hospital directly.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy approved the hospital’s attorneys request to scale down its contribution to the master settlement from $20 million to $5 million.

“The McLaren Defendants have expressed a willingness to remain a party to the settlement even though many of the individuals who filed cases against them have elected not to participate in the AMSA (Amended Master Settlement Agreement),” Levy wrote in her opinion released Wednesday.

McLaren’s request to reduce its contribution had the support of fellow defendants, the state of Michigan and Rowe Professional Services. A fourth defendant, the city of Flint, did not take a position on McLaren’s request due to the Flint city council’s inability to decide whether or not to approve.

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.