Judge Approves $600M Flint Settlement

Thousands will be eligible for payments over contaminated water
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2020 10:45 AM CDT
Updated Nov 10, 2021 7:10 PM CST
Michigan to Pay Flint Residents $600M
In this 2016 file photo, the Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

(Newser)

Update: Calling it "a remarkable achievement," a judge in Michigan has approved a $626.5 million settlement for thousands of people in Flint whose water was contaminated with lead. US District Judge Judith Levy said Wednesday that the package "is consistent for every qualifying participant, regardless of whether they are members of a class or are non-class individuals represented by their own counsel," CBS reports. People eligible to apply for compensation include adults who can show they were injured by exposure to lead, children who were exposed to lead, and customers who paid water bills. Our original story from August 2020 follows.

It looks like the residents of Flint, Mich., affected by the city's tainted-water catastrophe will be getting some payback: The state has agreed to a $600 million settlement. The proposed deal announced Thursday needs to be approved by US District Judge Judith Levy, who's overseeing lawsuits against the state, per the AP. Nearly 80% would go to claimants who were under 18 during the period covered by the deal, with the largest share—64.5%—devoted to children who were ages 6 and under when first exposed to the lead-tainted water. The number of claims involving minors range from 7,500 to 20,000, per the Wall Street Journal. But tens of thousands of other city residents also are eligible for payments.

"What happened in Flint should have never happened, and financial compensation with this settlement is just one of the many ways we can continue to show our support for the city of Flint and its families," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, adding that she was "deeply sorry for the uncertainty and troubles" the crisis had caused. Lead is a powerful toxin that can harm people at any age but is especially dangerous to children, potentially damaging the brain and nervous system and causing learning and behavior problems. The disaster made Flint a nationwide symbol of governmental mismanagement.

(Read more Flint, Michigan stories.)

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