By: April Carson
A $626 million settlement was handed down by a Michigan court on Wednesday in a class-action lawsuit filed by Flint residents over the city's lead-tainted water supply.
The bulk of the cash will come from Michigan, which has been accused of turning a blind eye to widespread reports of pollution in the city's drinking water.
“The settlement negotiated here is a remarkable achievement in many ways, not the least of which is that it establishes a comprehensive compensation program and timetable that is acceptable for every qualifying participant,” said US District Judge Judith Levy.
Flint children exposed to the tainted water, adults harmed by it, and certain businesses and customers who were charged for the sub-par water will be compensated.
The payment, which was announced on Wednesday, is one of the state's largest civil settlements ever. The bulk of the money will go to individuals who were children at the time of the water crisis in Flint.
It also benefits adults who can demonstrate that their illnesses were caused by lead poisoning.
The Flint water crisis was one of the country's most serious public health crises in recent history.
Flint's problems began in 2014, when the city moved its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. Lead leached from pipes due to corrosive river water, sickening hundreds of people and triggering Legionnaires' disease.
At least 12 individuals were killed by the infection.
The trial became a symbol for racial inequality in the United States as it affected a city with almost half of its 100,000 citizens being Black.
Several lawsuits were filed by parents who alleged that their children's blood levels of lead were dangerously high, which can cause developmental problems.
Lead is poisonous and children are especially susceptible to its effects.
Between 18,000 and 20,000 children resided in Flint at the time.
“This is a historic and momentous day for the residents of Flint, who will at long last see justice served,” said Ted Leopold, one of the lead attorneys in the case.
While the legal battle rages on, a settlement has been reached between Flint and its counsel. While it is a significant victory for Flint, we have a long way to go in stopping Americans from being poisoned at home, at school, or at work, according to another key lawyer in the case, Corey Stern.”
However, Flint resident Melisa May said the settlement was "not in any way, form or manner enough money."
The fact is that for the past seven and a half years, we've been dealing with contaminated water and medical expenses. Our kitchen and one of our bathrooms have been destroyed because the water ate through some of the plumbing in the ceiling, walls, and behind our appliances in our home alone. “That's tens of thousands of dollars in loans that we had to take out to be able to live in a house that was actually useable,” said the 43-year-old.
Because regulators chose not to treat the water, lead deposits in the old pipes contaminated the water that flowed into city residences.
Residents were enraged by the decision, resulting in an outbreak of Legionnaires disease.
In all, around 100,000 Flint water customers were sickened as a result of the crisis, prompting several lawsuits and misconduct charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
The settlement was announced in August 2020 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Attorney General Dana Nessel, but it wasn't official until Levy's signature.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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