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Panel of Flint community leaders discuss concerns related to proposed water settlement

Panel argues proposed settlement isn’t enough and comes with too many barriers for marginalized community and attorney responds
Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 10:54 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (02/09/2020) - Right now, registration is open for the proposed Flint water settlement.

At this point, more than $640 million is included, with more money expected to come, but there have been voices in the community speaking up against it.

On Tuesday night, a panel of city leaders and community activists shared their concerns, saying the $640 million settlement amount isn’t enough and comes with too many barriers for a community that’s been marginalized time and time again.

”Communities of color and then communities that may not be majority color, but they have a high poverty rate tend to be taken advantage of,” Dr. Herbert Miller II said.

Miller is the senior pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in Flint. He thinks this is one of those times where a community like Flint is at a disadvantage compared to other communities like Ann Arbor or Grand Rapids.

He joined a panel of community leaders, sharing their concerns, including the 3% set aside for homeowners with property damage.

”The level that they give homeowners doesn’t even cover the water that we’ve spent money on for the last five, six years. Thousands of dollars that you have spent on water. Money you spent on filters. Some people put in whole-house filters,” Miller said.

Miller says there are also too many hurdles for Flint residents that can eliminate them from getting compensated, like providing documentation there was personal injury due to lead contamination.

”My hope is that they would remove some of the barriers from this particular settlement, so more people can qualify to get compensation. I really think everyone who was a resident ought to get something,” Miller said.

Corey Stern, an attorney involved in the settlement, says this is one part of what will be more money with other defendants.

As for required documentation, he says if someone is paying you for an injury in the real world, you have to be able to show them that you were injured.

”There is no lawyer in the world that would ever take a personal injury case for someone who was personally injured if that person in the beginning of that relationship said, ‘By the way, I can’t prove anything. I can’t prove I was hurt, so I just want you to pull a rabbit out of your hat and create a resolution for me, even though I have no evidence,’” Stern said.

In the future, Miller says he wants to see settlements doing a better job involving the community before making a final decision.

For more information related to the official Flint water settlement website, click here.

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