Judge Orders State of Michigan To Pay Up $641 Million To Victims Of Flint Water Crisis
Victims of the Flint Water Crisis, which made headlines in the country’s several media outlets a few years ago, are getting closer than ever to receiving compensation for the entire ordeal.
Honorable Judge Judith Levy, the judge sitting on the case filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, has released a preliminary approval in favor of the residents of Flint, Michigan.
The order would make the state of Michigan pay up $641.25 million as it would be used as a settlement fund that would be distributed amongst thousands of Flint residents – from young to old hailing from different historical and socio-economic backgrounds.
In the official statement, the judge reiterated that the decision is not said and done yet. She adds that it does not mean that the town’s residents’ legal fight against the erring party ends alongside the decision.
The released decision adds that ‘no amount of money would fully recognize the harms the residents of Flint have experienced’ during the whole ordeal that started about seven years ago.
It is worth noting that the Flint Water Crisis settlement was agreed upon by both parties in late 2020. Since then, the official settlement site has already been up and running, though the official claims period has not yet begun as of writing.
The released decision is seen as a step forward towards the official start of the claims process.
The victims’ legal counsel, Attorney Corey Stern, commended the latest development in the Flint Water Crisis Settlement saga.
Speaking in a major television network news program, Stern declared that the Honorable Judge’s decision ensures residents that the day of reckoning for all the negative events they went through is about to come.
What to expect from the settlement?
Because the decision is not final yet, the reported details might slightly change as the Honorable Judge sitting on the case gives their stamp of approval to the final conditions of the settlement before the whole process sets into motion.
But here are the few factors and conditions that are for sure would be kept untouched in the settlement’s final agreed-upon details.
Flint residents who wish to be included in the pool of eligible claimants for monetary compensation can register until March 29th.
The decision of whether a person wants to file a claim or not relies entirely on the individual.
The final compensation amount an eligible resident could receive depends on a variety of factors.
They include the person’s age, the extent of exposure to the tainted water, laboratory test results, payment of water bills to the local water distributor, whether they owned or rented a property, and commercial losses and specifically identified personal injuries.
What is the Flint Water Crisis?
The reported settlement stemmed from the Flint Water Crisis that occurred in 2014 and reportedly persisted until 2019.
The whole public health crisis has inadvertently put thousands of Flint residents at life-long risks due to being exposed to high levels of lead and other harmful contaminants on their water supply.
It all started when the cash-strapped local government decided to switch its water source from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the local Flint River.
It is well-known that the Flint River has been heavily polluted due to years of dumping done to it, yet authorities still pushed through with the move to save up money while they looked for other water source alternatives.
This led to Flint residents being supplied with contaminated water on their taps, with laboratory testing showing that most of them have been exposed to hazardous levels of lead.
It was also hypothesized that the change was also associated with the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the city.
Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia. During that time, the recorded outbreak is the third-largest in the United States.
Eventually, a state and the federal state of emergency was raised to handle the whole fiasco.
Generally seen as a prime example of government officials’ negligence in the name of profit, many residents have filed different class-action lawsuits to hold accountable government officials who were responsible for the debacle.
Judge Judith Levy’s decision is just one example of the legal victories of the locals.
Nevertheless, the scores of legal victories are being monitored by victims as well as partner nonprofits to ensure that they are implemented per the court’s verdict.
Just last January, former State Governor Rick Snyder was indicted with cases of willful neglect of office regarding the events that led up to the Flint Water Crisis by the State of Michigan’s Attorney General Dan Nessel.
Eight other officials were also charged alongside the former Republican leader. As of press time, only one state official has been convicted for their actions.
Editor’s Note Flint Water Crisis:
This article is published to inform you of the latest settlement updates of the Flint Water Crisis Class Action Lawsuit.
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