Flint, MI – Lawyers involved in the Flint Water Litigation posted a review of the $ 641.25 million water settlement on the Flint City Facebook page on Nov. 23.
This information event followed the city insurer’s proposal to contribute $ 20 million to the billing. Flint City Council will vote on the city to join the settlement at the city council meeting on November 23.
Attending the live session were Attorney Rick Berg, Attorney Sheldon Klein, Assistant Attorney William Kim, Attorney General Angela Wheeler, and Communications Director Marjory Raymer.
At the beginning of the meeting, Berg presented an overview of the settlement of legal disputes.
He shared four key points that residents should understand:
- Berg said the city’s insurer provided all of the money for the settlement, which means the $ 20 million is free for the city or residents.
- He said that lawsuits against the EPA and the two engineering firms that said they would not set up could reclaim more money: Veolia and LAN.
- If the city council disagrees with the deal, Berg said, “The city will be at risk of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in legal proceedings.” He said the $ 20 million negotiated by the insurance company would not be contributed and the city would be “in the same boat it is in”.
- Berg said it was important for residents to get information from reliable sources and shared the links below:
After Berg gave an overview of the settlement, Raymer asked lawyers to respond to questions asked in the comments on the live video:
What happens next in this whole process?
Attorney Klein said the next step would be for the city council to approve the settlement.
“If the city council does not agree, the settlement is over,” he said. “For the other sedentary defendants, that’s not true … the train will leave the station without us.”
Next, he said the court would hold a hearing to decide whether to tentatively approve the settlement and officially inform people about it.
“As soon as she does that, a settlement notice will be sent, a court-approved document describing the settlement …[and] Describe the choices that are available to you, ”he said.
Klein said residents could opt out of the settlement and file their own lawsuit, which was “an extremely risky course,” or object to the settlement and tell the judge why it shouldn’t be approved.
“The court will review all of this before deciding whether to approve it. Provided it’s approved, there is an opportunity to file your application and provide documentation, ”he said.
Once the claims are filed, Klein said someone will review them and make sure the documentation is correct, and then the money will be paid out.
“We have a very aggressive schedule to achieve this,” he said. “It won’t happen tomorrow. It will take a little time to process the tens of thousands of applications and allow you to understand and make your decisions. “
Nobody has had to file a claim yet, right?
“There’s no need to file a lawsuit,” said Klein. “Until the agreement is provisionally approved, you don’t have to do anything other than find out about the agreement.”
How much will each person get? Is it from the household?
Attorney Wheeler said the amount reported will depend on the applicant.
“Think about it kind of like a cake,” she said. “The more people make a claim, the thinner each slice gets.”
Attorney Berg added that the plaintiff’s attorneys have included a “lead injury classification” in the claims system, “particularly in the children’s department”.
“The children with the worst conditions will qualify for a higher amount,” he said. “There are formulas built into the system that take into account the fact that the people who … have suffered the worst will receive the most compensation.”
Attorney Klein said the system is structured so that “similar applicants receive the same amount”.
Why do adults receive 18% of the settlement funds?
Attorney Berg said there was a special attorney appointed by the judge for children only and another attorney for adults only during the settlement process.
“Through this process, the parties have negotiated extensively to come up with a formula that would provide the greatest possible compensation for the greatest harm, based on the scientific evidence,” he said.
He said science has shown “that lead poisoning is much more harmful to a child than lead poisoning is to an adult.”
He presented a slide showing that the total pool of funds for adults who A) own or rent property, B) pay water bills, or C) demonstrate personal injury from lead contamination, before attorney fees, is $ 115,470,096.
“Most of it, 15% of it, $ 96 billion if it’s for adults poisoned with lead,” Berg said.
He said children are not required to provide evidence that they have been poisoned if they lived in the city and can prove that they consumed water. Adults, on the other hand, must have evidence.
Can you tell what the real legal fees will be?
Assistant Attorney Kim said no one knows.
“The plaintiff’s attorneys can … bring their own claim for fees to Judge Levy,” he said. “Judge Levy is the one who decides whether or not these fees are reasonable.”
Kim said he didn’t expect the “standard percentages” that apply to lawsuits to occur in the case.
He said a third “was thrown around a lot than … the maximum amount.”
“I wouldn’t assume this is the amount … Judge Levy will award,” he said.
Kim said Levy will review what the plaintiff’s attorneys are filing, how much time attorneys have spent on the case, what their staffing levels are and what their contributions have been.
“She will want to maximize the amount of money available to the people of the city,” he said.
Can their goods take part in the settlement for deceased persons?
“There is … a considerable amount of money for people with water-borne Legionella, and that includes the people who have died as a result. So the answer is,” Berg said.
What kind of documentation is needed to prove personal injury?
Attorney Berg said residents know what to do by reading the material they receive in the mail.
He said that once residents receive the notice, they will register to participate in the settlement and then fill out an application form.
“The application form is prepped and has a lot of details outlining what you need to do to qualify for any of the specific billing categories,” he said.
Berg said it will depend on the type of injury, but water tests, blood tests, and bone lead tests could be records that residents could use.
Check out more Great Lakes Flint news now:
The resolution of flint water claims now stands at approximately $ 641 million
Judge: Flint needs to check the water pipes in newer neighborhoods
Court: Flint class action can be fought over lead in water
This article, first published in Flint Beat, is republished here by Great Lakes Now’s membership of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a network of more than 200 nonprofit newsrooms in the United States, to provide the sources of trusted news for thousands of different communities to strengthen.
Featured Image: Lawyers involved in Flint Water Litigation posted live briefing for Flint residents on Facebook. (Image by Flint Beat)