As of a week ago, more than 33,000 people had registered to be part of the settlement.
Attorneys say they have seen a crush of people in the last week wanting to opt-in or opt-out of the settlement. The lawyers say the deadline crunch will make it difficult for them to help people register and file objections to the settlement. They asked U.S. District Judge Judith Levy to extend the deadline by another 60 days.
But on Friday, Levy denied the request. She says the original deadline was a part of the settlement. Judge Levy told the attorneys “Get all hands on deck and get the job done.”
The state of Michigan is putting up $600 million of the settlement. Money is also coming from the city of Flint, McLaren Flint Hospital and Rowe Professional Services. The settlement is intended to settle civil lawsuits tied to the Flint water crisis. The settlement does not settle all civil lawsuits linked to the crisis.
State appointed managers switched the city of Flint’s drinking water source as a way to save money. But soon after the April 2014 switch to the Flint River, city residents started complaining about foul smelling and tasting water. The city was switched back to Detroit’s water system in October 2015.
But studies showed elevated blood lead levels in Flint children during the switch. Also, at least a dozen people died and scores more were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.
The bulk of the money from the settlement will be divided among children exposed to high lead levels in Flint’s drinking water. Adults who suffered health issues and property damage tied to the water crisis are eligible for damages. But lawyers are seeking nearly a third of the settlement. That request has been criticized by many people in Flint.
Judge Levy will decide how much the attorneys will receive for their work on the settlement. She will also decide later this year on whether to give the settlement final approval.