Attorney: Young kids likely to receive six-figure awards from $600 million Flint water settlement

A complex legal process has to play out before any of the money is disbursed
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 6:33 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - An attorney representing 2,600 children affected by the Flint water crisis expects they each will receive life-changing payments from the proposed $600 million settlement announced Thursday.

Corey Stern stayed up all night personally reaching out to each of the families he’s representing in civil litigation against the state of Michigan over the water crisis. He believes each child under age 6 living in Flint during the water crisis who applies for an award will receive an amount in the six-figure range.

“Those kids start out every day is like 20-point underdogs. They just do based on the circumstances under which they were brought into the world. And this is a day where, you know, the kids won,” Stern said.

Eighty percent of the settlement will be allocated for children 18 and younger who were affected by the water crisis, which totals $480 million. The other $120 million will go toward adults, businesses, ongoing special education needs and other priorities.

A complex legal process has to play out before any of the money is disbursed:

  • A federal judge needs to approve the settlement, which Stern expects they will.
  • People can register to claim a settlement, which Stern said will be very simple.
  • They then would have 60 to 90 days to file a formal claim, which Stern said will involve saying basically that they lived in Flint during the water crisis after April 25, 2014.
  • A third party will look at every claim to decide whether it meets the settlement criteria and decide how much should be awarded.
  • An appeal process will be established for people who want to refute their damage amount.
  • The money will be disbursed to approved recipients.

Adults will get their settlement money right away. For children under age 18, the court will work with their parents to decide how to pay out the reward, but interest will accrue on the money during that process.

Stern said Thursday’s settlement announcement isn’t the end of civil litigation. Cases remain against private companies involved in the water crisis, McLaren Healthcare and even the city of Flint, so more awards for Flint families are possible.

“I would argue that this whole thing is just beginning and the first domino to fall is the state,” Stern said.

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