Aug 25, 2020

Michigan Reaches $600 Million Settlement in Flint Water Crisis Suits

80% of the nearly $600 million settlement is earmarked for those who were younger than 18 at the time of the crisis

flint water crisis, lead contamination, drinking water

The state of Michigan reached a nearly $600 million settlement in the Flint water crisis lawsuit. Funds from the settlement will provide direct payments to residents impacted by the Flint water crisis, with nearly 80% of the funds earmarked for those who were younger than 18 at the time of the crisis, reported CNN.

While exact details of the settlement are forthcoming, Flint City Councilman Eric Mays said the settlement is set to be “primarily going to the kids” who have claimed in lawsuits that they were poisoned by Flint city water during a period where state-appointed emergency managers were running the city.

In addition to the state, the settlement also includes the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and other individual defendants, including former Gov. Rick Snyder. Litigation is ongoing against other defendants, including two private engineering firms charged with professional negligence. 

“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," Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

According to data from the Senate Fiscal Agency, a $600 million settlement would be a historically large one for the state, more than the $546 million the state has paid out in court judgements and settlements for every lawsuit against it combined in the last 10 fiscal years, reported MLive.

Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor who helped uncover the Flint water crisis through water quality testing, commented on the settlement to The Detroit News.

“If money is how government expresses sorrow for its crimes—this is a big apology,” Edwards told The Detroit News.

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