The Flint water crisis has been making headlines for years, and now a mass tort action is finally underway. Though often described as a class-action case, the Flint civil litigation is primarily what is known as a “mass tort” action, involving tens of thousands of individual plaintiffs, though it does have some class-action components as well.
This lawsuit could potentially hold Michigan officials responsible for the Flint water crisis and award millions of dollars in damages to Flint, Michigan residents. If you’re wondering what this lawsuit is all about, or if you want to know how to get involved, read on. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the Flint water crisis mass tort lawsuit in this article, as we have reported before on some of the biggest class action settlements in American history.
History Of The Flint Water Crisis Class Action Lawsuit
Flint, Michigan made headlines in 2014 when it was revealed that the city’s water supply had been contaminated with lead. Flint residents were exposed to lead poisoning for over two years before the issue was finally addressed. The Flint water crisis has been linked to a number of health problems, including learning disabilities, gastrointestinal issues, and even death.
In January of 2016, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Michigan officials on behalf of Flint residents. This lawsuit accuses state and local officials of negligence and gross misconduct in relation to the Flint water crisis. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for themselves and their families totaling $641 million.
Flint residents like Tiesha Tipton were not informed about the water crisis in their city, and as a result, she continued to use it for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. Now that her family has been exposed over time they have higher chances than average of serious health problems including increased cancer risks. The lack of warning from officials left many residents with no choice but to continue using the water, believing there would be no discernible effects until later diagnosis.
The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that the Flint water crisis class-action lawsuit can move forward with allegations. The defendants tried to dismiss these claims, arguing the plaintiffs failed to “provide timely notice”.
Some of the plaintiffs’ claims were partially dismissed by the Court of Claims, Assistant Attorney General Nate Gambill argued that “there is no policy maker who authorized or mandated that low-level staffers go out and expose the plaintiffs to toxic water.” However, in a four-to-two ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court sided with the Flint plaintiffs.
The U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan Approved The Massive Settlement In 2021
The Flint water crisis class-action lawsuit is still ongoing, but there have already been some major developments. In March of 2019, Flint residents reached a $97 million settlement with the state of Michigan. This settlement will go towards replacing Flint’s water pipes and providing health care for Flint residents who were exposed to lead poisoning.
The Flint water crisis class action settlement will provide much-needed funds for children who are or were minors when they first became exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water. Of the 79.5% portion of this fund spent on minors, 64.5% half goes towards kids under age 7 with another 10 percent designated specifically toward those between ages 8 – 11 years old, and 5% will benefit kids children ages 12 to 17. Only 5%, however, is earmarked as an additional benefit dedicated to children’s programs in Flint.
The court has announced that 18% of the settlement fund will go towards adults and claims for property damage. The remaining 0 .5% goes toward businesses that have incurred losses.
“As I’ve said before, what happened in Flint should have never happened, and financial compensation with this settlement is just one of the many ways we will continue to show our support for the city of Flint and its families,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “We will also continue working, to help the community heal and move forward, toward the brighter future that the people of Flint deserve.”
In August, a settlement was announced for $600 million. However, three more defendants have joined and raised the total amount to $641M.
The Defendants Include Two Engineering Companies And The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The city of Flint, McLaren Regional Medical Center, and Rowe Professional Services have joined state government and officials in settling the lawsuit. Further claims are pending against other defendants such as two engineering companies, Veolia North America & Lockwood Andrews & Newman Inc., and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The court must approve the settlement before the funds are used to benefit the claimants. After preliminary approval, which allows people to review it over time, they have the option to object or register for the settlement compensation.
The final approval hearing is the most important step in settling a class action. The court will determine if it’s fair, reasonable, and adequate based on how many eligible participants choose to participate versus those who object – so make sure you get involved.
If you or someone you know was affected by the Flint water crisis, you may be eligible to join the class-action lawsuit now that registrations are open. If you want to learn more or get involved, we encourage you to speak with a lawyer. An experienced attorney can help answer your questions and guide you through the process of joining the lawsuit.
Benefits For Class Members Of Melissa Mays, et al. v. Governor of Michigan, et al., Case No. 157420-2
Class members can recover a cash payment from the Flint water contamination lawsuit settlement. The grid provides detailed information about claim levels and which claimants are eligible for higher payments, with each category requiring different proof of eligibility–you’ll know exactly how much money you’re owed once it’s time to submit your application.
Category 1 minor child claimants include children who were 6 years old or younger when they first became exposed to the water and had elevated blood level tests for lead. Proof of these claims includes documentation from both a test involving Lead levels in samples taken from bone marrow and blood.
The Flint water contamination lawsuit settlement website says that claim amounts will be determined based on a review of each Class Member’s situation. Payments could start as soon as the end of 2023, so long you fill out all necessary forms and have proof your exposure happened in Flint during 2014-2020.
I found more at openclassactions.com