The proposed settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of residents of Flint, Michigan, who were harmed by lead-tainted water now totals about US$641 million, officials revealed Tuesday.
The lawsuit was the result of workers following state environmental officials’ advice not to use anti-corrosive additives. Without those treatments, water from the Flint River scraped lead from aging pipes and fixtures, contaminating Flint’s tap water.
The proposed deal between lawyers representing Flint residents and the city of Flint, McLaren Regional Medical Center, the engineering and environmental services firm Rowe Professional Services and the state of Michigan was expected to be filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
“This settlement agreement is just one of the many ways we will continue showing our support for the city and residents of Flint,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “The details of the proposal that have been presented to the judge are an important step forward and we are committed to helping the residents of Flint participate in this process as we all work together towards the brighter future that Flint deserves.”
The state’s offer of $600 million was announced in August. McLaren and Rowe also agreed to settle now rather than litigate. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Flint’s portion of the settlement is $20 million. McLaren is providing $20 million and Rowe is providing $1.25 million.
Court-appointed counsel Corey Stern says Flint residents will have 60 days to register to participate in the settlement. Those that register will then have 120 days to produce documents supporting their claims.
If accepted by the court, the settlement would excuse the state of Michigan, the city of Flint, McLaren and Rowe from pending civil litigation related to the water crisis. Lawsuits would continue against other defendants that did not agree to settle, including the federal government and other consultants who worked with the city on water issues.