March 30, 2021

Some members of the $641 million Flint water settlement class urged a Michigan federal judge Monday to reject lawyers' bid for $202 million in fees, saying the payment scheme doesn't comply with legal standards.

Three objectors said it's unknown exactly how much in fees could be awarded for so-called common benefit work, or legal work performed by both co-liaison counsel and class counsel for the benefit of all the plaintiffs. The court should have a clear idea of that amount, the objectors said.

In addition, they said there should be a lower cap on contingency fees for individually-retained counsel to prevent "windfalls on the backs of class members who are entitled to straightforward compensation under the settlement."

Theodore Leopold, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and co-lead class counsel, said the fees request is fair.

"We appreciate the filing but this matter has been a six year litigation involving a tremendous amount of work by the parties," Leopold said Tuesday.

He said the objection misses the fact that only approximately $120 million of the $640 million settlement is set aside for the class portion of the settlement, and that class attorneys are seeking 27% of the $120 million of those funds for attorney fees.

"The balance of the fees, approximately $170 million, is based upon individual fee agreements entered into by the individual plaintiffs' and their attorneys," he said. "Ultimately the attorney fee amount is up to Judge Levy to determine based upon the law and the facts."

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