$600 Million Flint Water Crisis settlement announced: AG Nessel calls it “a step forward in healing for one of Michigan’s most resilient cities”

A $600 million settlement agreement has been reached in the Flint Water Crisis class action lawsuit, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on a YouTube statement this week.

Flint water pipe replacement crews at work. (Photo by Ed Custer)

If the $600 million settlement for the people of Flint is agreed to by the plaintiffs and by the courts, it will likely be the largest settlement in the history of the State of Michigan, Nessel said.

Nessel explained some details and steps that need to happen must remain confidential for the time being and is not yet allowed to provide in-depth details.

However, she said she will be able to provide details in weeks to come and looks forward to meaningful conversations with the communities involved.

Nessel cautioned in her statement that the payout of claims could take several months but said it would begin after 45 – 60 days. Nessel clarified that certain preliminary conditions have to be met with the courts yet.

Early information about the settlement indicated that 80 per cent of the $600 million payout will be directed towards minors under age 18. Fifteen percent will go towards adults, three per cent will go to those who suffered property damage, five percent will go to those who suffered economic loss, and two per cent will go towards programmatic relief programs.

The claim process is still being developed. The claiming process will be announced to Flint residents in the next 45 to 60 days.

In the YouTube statement Nessel stated that for years the State has fought in over a hundred cases in state and federal courts brought by the people of Flint.

Nessel added the $600 million settlement will be a part of more than $1 billion the State has contributed to aid Flint in its recovery from the water crisis.

A little over a year ago Flint residents pleaded, “Please tell me some heads are going to roll…”

As EVM reported, last summer the state’s water crisis prosecution team, led by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud faced down 200 Flint residents at the UAW Local 659 Hall.

Flint residents listen to Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, in June 2019, speak about litgation plans for the Flint Water Crisis. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Fifteen days earlier the State had announced they had dropped all criminal charges against eight central figures in the Flint Water Crisis, now in its sixth year.

That incendiary move, which came without warning to the residents of a city beleaguered and by what many call “poisoning by policy,”  prompted fiery responses from local politicians and a host of weary “water warriors,” as they had come to be called.

Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud (seated center with orange mic) and Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor assigned as lead prosecution on Flint Water Crisis Settlement (seated left speaking in mic) and a host of lawyers and State officials speak to beleaguered Flint residents in 2019. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Since then Flint residents have been waiting for “the other shoe to drop.” When would the courts resolve the criminal prosecutions and the civil class action lawsuit on behalf of the poisoned residents of Flint?

Local, state and federal Michigan politicians respond to Flint Water Crisis Settlement announcement

Mayor Sheldon Neeley released a statement concerning the Water Crisis settlement in which he stated:

“This settlement will be an important step forward for our community. For years, we were victims — our voices and concerns ignored as lead continued to leech into our water. However, our community is resilient and we have persevered.”

State Senator Jim Ananich(D) said this about the Flint Water Crisis settlement:

“This settlement represents a meaningful step toward justice for the people of Flint. More important than the money is the acknowledgment that our people – our children – have been permanently harmed by the deliberate negligence of those who were supposed to serve us.

The settlement is welcome news, but I have said from the very beginning that the demand for justice will not be satisfied until every person who had a hand in poisoning my city be held legally accountable, regardless of political position or power.”

In an email statement U.S. Representative Dan Kildee said, “

“While I support today’s class-action settlement for the victims of the water crisis, there will never be a number that adequately recognizes the harm done to Flint families.

“Justice for Flint families ultimately will take many forms, including today’s announcement. Justice comes by holding those state officials accountable for what they did to Flint.

Justice also requires making sure that families have access to critical resources, like the Flint Registry and other health care, educational and nutritional services, that can continue to help mitigate the effects of lead exposure.

Flint families deserve our continued support and we owe it to other communities to learn the lessons of the man-made crisis, so it never happens elsewhere.”

During a period of state-appointed emergency managers, then Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and other city officials, tapped the water in the Flint
River to run through the pipes of Flint homes, schools and businesses. That proved to be a tragic series of decisions.

The corrosive make up of the water in the Flint river stripped toxic lead amounts from old pipes throughout the city and placed them into Flint’s water.

The statements in the Flint Water Crisis Settlement can be read below.

The settlement statement can be read here.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s statement on the Flint Water Crisis settlement can be viewed and read here.

Attorney General Dana Nessel’s statement on the Flint Water Crisis settlement can be viewed and read here.

EVM assistant editor Tom Travis can be reached at tomntravis@gmail.com

Author: Tom Travis

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