U.S. District Judge Judith Levy has given final approval to the historic $626.25 million settlement with victims of the Flint lead-tainted water crisis, a settlement that compensates more than half of the city's residents.
In her Wednesday opinion, Levy called the settlement a "remarkable achievement" in part because the comprehensive payment program and timeline are consistent for all plaintiffs, whether they are part of a class-action lawsuit or suing individually.
The litigation claims were complex and novel, with no other previous, similar cases the court or parties could examine to predict the outcome of the Flint case, Levy wrote.
As such, the $626.25 million settlement is a "fair and sensible resolution of the claims" for both claimants and defendants who faced an unpredictable outcome if the case went through a full trial, she said.
Counsel for the Flint plaintiffs celebrated Levy's Wednesday approval as a "historic and momentous day" that ensures justice for Flint residents.
"Though we can never undo what has occurred, this settlement makes clear that those who egregiously violate the law and harm their communities will be held accountable," said Ted Leopold, who was appointed by the court as co-lead counsel for class action participants.
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