A judge on Wednesday approved a $626 million deal to settle lawsuits filed by Flint residents who found their tap water contaminated by lead following disastrous decisions to switch the city’s water source and a failure to swiftly acknowledge the problem.
Most of the money — $600 million — is coming from the state of Michigan, which was accused of repeatedly overlooking the risks of using the Flint River without properly treating the water.
“The settlement reached here is a remarkable achievement for many reasons, not the least of which is that it sets forth a comprehensive compensation program and timeline that is consistent for every qualifying participant,” U.S. District Judge Judith Levy said in a 178-page opinion.
The deal makes money available to Flint children who were exposed to the water, adults who can show an injury, certain business owners and anyone who paid water bills. About 80% of what’s left after legal fees is earmarked for children.
“This is a historic and momentous day for the residents of Flint, who will finally begin to see justice served,” said Ted Leopold, one of the lead attorneys in the litigation.
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This article also appeared in ABC 10 News and Spectrum News 1.