Skubick: State settlement could mean payday for Flint water victims

Michigan

A source is telling 6 News that between 25,000 and 30,000 victims of the Flint water crisis will eventually share in a multi-million dollar out of court settlement with the state of Michigan.  

In a story only on 6 News, Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick reveals that  mediation to resolve this case is moving into the final stages.

Thousands of adults and children were exposed to unhealthy levels of lead in  Flint water and their attorneys in a class action suit have blamed state government for the its role in allegedly mishandling the health threat.

“They were more concerned about the politics than the health threat and didn’t care for the people being harmed by this,” claimed class action attorney Michael Pitt on January 16, 2016. “They were more scared about the optics and how do we look and who can we blame for this.”

Trial lawyer Michael Pitt is one of the lead lawyers in this class action suit along with 21 other legal firms but he has no comment on the impending out of court settlement with the state, if the talks do not fall apart.

After Gretchen Whitmer was elected, along with attorney general Dana Nessel, it became clear that they were serious about reaching an out of court settlement to avoid a lengthy and, perhaps even, embarrassing trial.

Former Michigan U.S. Senator Carl Levin and another neutral attorney last January were appointed by a federal judge to  decide how the multi-million dollar settlement will be distributed.

For example since young children are more at risk for health problems due to the exposure to lead, they are likely to received a larger portion of the settlement than adults.

It is know that Senator Levin is looking at an aggregate  range of money that the state is willing to pay but lengthy mediations are underway and no final decision has been made on the actual dollar amount.

Back in 2016, attorney Pitt alleged that the state covered up the lead water problem and dismissed the higher lead blood numbers in children as part of a so-called seasonal spike.

“This seasonal spike argument they are making is really a pre-text to a cover up of their own neglect in this matter,” said Pitt. “They were sitting on a public health emergency for ten months before the whistle was blown.”

Michigan taxpayers will eventually pay for the state’s role in all this with an announcement of how much that will be coming perhaps in early 2020.  

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