Court grants preliminary approval for landmark Flint Water Crisis settlement

FLINT — Interim Co-lead Class Counsel in the Flint water crisis litigation announced Jan. 21 that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has granted preliminary approval for the $641.2 million partial settlement resulting from the class action and individual lawsuits brought on behalf of Flint residents.

Flint residents can now begin the process of registering to participate in the settlement.

Flint residents now have until March 29 to register to participate in the settlement program. Those who register and are eligible to participate will then have until Aug. 26, to submit the documents necessary to support their claims. This process will be managed by a court-appointed claims administrator.

Monetary awards that Flint residents are entitled to receive will not be issued until after the settlement receives final approval following a public hearing held by Judge Judith Levy. Should Judge Levy grant final approval of the settlement, nearly 80 percent of the funds will go to those who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crisis.

Litigation will continue against two private engineering firms who have not settled and who Plaintiffs allege committed professional negligence—Lockwood, Andrews & Newman (LAN) and Veolia. 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.

“This is another important day for the residents of Flint, and a further step in the process of receiving justice. I encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for financial relief to visit flintwaterjustice.com to learn more. We want every victim of the reckless and harmful behavior that led to this crisis to achieve and receive a full measure of the justice they deserve,” said Ted Leopold, court-appointed co-lead counsel and Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.

“With today’s order from Judge Levy preliminarily approving the settlement of claims against the State of Michigan, City of Flint, McLaren Hospital, the people of Flint are one step closer to receiving some of the compensation they deserve. A team of more than 30 highly skilled and motivated lawyers continue to work to hold the two remaining private engineering companies and the EPA accountable for the grievous harm they caused the people of Flint,” said Michael Pitt, court-appointed co-lead counsel and partner at Pitt McGehee Palmer Bonanni & Rivers, PC.

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

Claimants presenting the same profile of injuries and documentation 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. — G.G.