Court grants final approval for landmark Flint Water Crisis settlement

FLINT – Interim Co-lead Class Counsel in the Flint water crisis litigation announced Wednesday that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has granted final approval for the landmark $626 million partial settlement resulting from the class action and individual lawsuits brought on behalf of Flint residents.

The ruling means that Flint residents can now begin to receive financial relief from the settlement. Eighty percent of the funds will go to those who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crisis, with a large majority of that amount to be paid for the claims of children aged 6 and younger.

The remaining funds will go to special education services in Genesee County, adults, business owners and property owners who suffered property damage.

“This is a historic and momentous day for the residents of Flint, who will finally begin to see justice served,” said Ted Leopold, court-appointed co-lead counsel and Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll. “None of this would have been possible without the tireless advocacy from residents, who never gave up the fight. Though we can never undo what has occurred, this settlement makes clear that those who egregiously violate the law and harm their communities will be held accountable.”

In August, the court entered an order granting Class Certification on liability claims in the ongoing litigation against private engineering firms Lockwood, Andrews & Newman (LAN) and Veolia, LLC; Veolia, Inc, and Veolia Water (VNA).

Each allegedly failed to give appropriate professional advice, greatly adding to the widespread lead contamination of the water that flowed into class members homes and businesses. Separate litigation against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will also continue.

The parties to the settlement include the State of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) all individual governmental defendants including former Gov. Rick Snyder, the City of Flint, McLaren Regional Medical Center and Rowe Professional Services Co.

Claimants presenting the same profile of injuries will receive the same awards without regard to whether they are represented by an attorney or law firm. The Special Master and Plaintiffs’ lawyers will help supervise this part of the process.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint) issued a statement after the Flint water settlement with the State was formally approved in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“No amount of money can change what happened to my city, but this settlement is a measure of justice; justice that we are owed. It is also is an important declaration that the State will be held accountable when its actions – or inactions – cause irreparable harm to the people who live here,” said Ananich. “That said, our quest for justice does not end here, not by a long shot. There is still much work to do to make sure that anyone who played a role in poisoning the children of Flint answers to the law.”

“Today’s decision by Judge Levy creates a path to resolve years of suffering for the residents of Flint,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “While no amount of money will heal the wounds inflicted on this community, this judgement provides some sense of comfort to Flint families. There is still much work to do that includes a thorough review of the judgement.”

Residents are encouraged to visit flintwaterjustice.com or call 866-536-0717 for information.