Michigan to pay $600M in lawsuit settlement for Flint water crisis

Dana Nessel
FILE – In this March 5, 2020 file photo, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addresses the media during a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Nessel on Monday, March 15, 2021 declined Republicans’ request to investigate whether nursing home orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer led to COVID-19 deaths or if related data is inaccurate, citing a lack of evidence that any law was violated. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File) David Eggert/AP

Michigan to pay $600M in lawsuit settlement for Flint water crisis

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A judge ruled on Tuesday that Michigan will pay $600 million to settle lawsuits related to the Flint water crisis as part of the largest state settlement in history.

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the decision on Tuesday, stating that a county judge had formally approved the settlement. The news comes over two years after another court issued preliminary approval in 2021.

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“This historic settlement cannot undo the unimaginable hardship and heartbreaking health effects these families and children in Flint have endured,” Nessel said, per the Hill.

“This ruling provides families with much needed compensation for the injuries they have suffered. I am proud of my team’s tireless work on behalf of the people of Flint.”

The overall settlement includes $600 million from the state, $20 million from the city, $5 million from McLaren Regional Medical Center, and $1.5 million from Rowe Professional Services. This is different from the preliminary agreement, which included $20 million from McLaren as opposed to $5 million.

Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan approved the agreement in January 2021.

This settlement brings the state closer to the end of the crisis that began in 2014 when state officials switched the city’s drinking water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. The change caused close to 12,000 children to drink lead-contaminated water and a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that resulted in the deaths of at least 12 people.

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In December 2022, a Michigan judge dismissed criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) for his handling of the water crisis and the efforts of his appointed city managers. The judge ruled that the charges were “not properly brought.” Snyder was given two misdemeanor counts of misconduct in office in 2021, seven years after the Flint water crisis began.

A judge also threw out indictments against seven other officials due to a procedural error in October 2022 — some faced involuntary manslaughter — after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in June that one-person grand juries could not bring indictments against officers.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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