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Criminal Justice & Legal System

People with objections to Flint water settlement get their day in court this week

The Flint Water Treatment Plant
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

People will have the opportunity this week to raise objections to a proposed settlement of civil claims tied to the Flint water crisis.

Starting Monday, a federal judge will hold the first of three days of hearings.

More than 50,000 people filed for a share of the $641 million settlement. The state of Michigan is contributing $600 million to the settlement. The city of Flint and McLaren Flint Hospital have both committed $20 million. Rowe Professional Services is contributing $1.5 million.

The bulk of the settlement funds are earmarked for plaintiffs who were children or minors during the Flint water crisis.  

But not everyone is happy with the settlement. Their concerns cover a wide range of legal, medical and fairness issues. For example, objections have been raised against the roughly $200 million lawyers involved in crafting the settlement want the judge to set aside to pay their legal fees.   

Others are displeased with the different levels of compensation victims will receive based on their documented lead exposure.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy has set aside three days to hear objections. Levy gave the settlement preliminary approval in January. The judge is expected to give final approval to the settlement later this year.

The Flint water crisis began in 2014, after the city’s drinking water source was switched. During an 18 month period, improperly treated water drawn from the Flint River damaged pipes, releasing lead particles into the city’s drinking water.

Lead and other contaminants in Flint’s drinking water is blamed for a variety of health problems and personal property damage.

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