December 21, 2020

The federal judge overseeing a proposed $641 million settlement in the Flint water crisis civil litigation said she will decide by mid-January whether to approve the deal amid concerns from residents and some members of the Flint City Council that the amount is too low.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy made the announcement Monday after she met via Zoom with scores of attorneys involved in the landmark case following years of court hearings and negotiations. Her decision will be issued in writing, she said, but will allow time for others such as residents to express concerns about the agreement.

The money, which was increased to $41 million this fall, would largely go to victims of the water crisis that emerged after Flint residents learned their drinking water had been contaminated with lead after a source switch to river water in 2014. Levy called the proposed deal “among the most complex settlements I have ever seen.”

The attorneys involved in the case discussed with the judge the amount that would go to children affected by the lead crisis versus adults who were afflicted with Legionnaires’ disease.

Corey Stern, who represents 4,000 Flint residents, including 2,700 children, and helped negotiate the settlement, said the people in the room “all had different interests” but were able to come together for the city's citizens.

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