Flint's $641M settlement registration ends Monday; 38K residents file so far

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Flint residents have until end of day Monday to register to be part of a $641 million settlement to compensate for health and property damages sustained when lead leached into water lines of city residents. 

As of Friday, about 38,000 of Flint's roughly 95,000 residents had registered with the claims administrator. Federal District Judge Judith Levy denied a motion Friday seeking to extend the deadline for registration after lawyers for some plaintiffs asked that it be extended. 

Residents who still need to register can do so online at officialflintwatersettlement.com or by mail. All mailed registrations must be postmarked by Monday. 

Flint residents and affected businesses have until the end of the day Monday, March 29, 2021 to register their participation in the $641 million Flint civil litigation settlement.

Eligible individual include people who lived in a home serviced by or businesses connected to the Flint water treatment plant. Also eligible are people who ingested water from the plant for at least 21 days during any 30-day period after April 25, 2014, which is when the city of Flint switched its water source to the Flint River.

Individuals exposed to water from the plant from April 25, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2018, and were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease are also eligible.

The settlement is made up of a $600 million share from the state of Michigan, $20 million from the city of Flint, $20 million from McLaren Regional Medical Center and $1.25 million from Rowe Professional Services Co. 

Nearly 80% of the $641 million settlement will go to people who were minors at the time of exposure with some of those children pushed into higher compensation tiers based on blood or bone lead tests. About 2% of the settlement will go toward special education in Genesee County, and 18% will be targeted at adults who suffered property damage as a result of the lead contamination. 

Attorneys for the civil plaintiffs have asked for a $202 million share of the $641 million settlement, but Levy has yet to rule on the request. Some residents and legal experts have called the total excessive

Levy held a Friday hearing on a motion seeking to extend the deadline for registering by 60 days. The motion sought a delay to allow for a "sustained increase of public interest" and lack of availability of alternative bone scans that could be used to show qualification for a higher tier of compensation. 

Lawyers Stephen Monroe and Mark Cuker also argued there were questions about the bone scan mechanism's safety.

The motion included support from some individual plaintiffs and counsel for those who filed as part of a class action suit. The motion was opposed by other individual plaintiffs, the state of Michigan and McLaren Hospital, according to court filings. 

Lawyers Corey Stern and Hunter Shkolnik, co-liaison counsel for Flint claimants, rejected the concerns in a filing earlier this month, noting the scan had been used for many years on children and adults to determine blood lead levels. And the program is being directed by experts at New York University Langone Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

"As these credentials show these experts have dedicated their careers to public health of the community, including to children," Stern and Shkolnik wrote on March 4. "They would not, nor would we allow any risk to the community."