United States: Small-town Michigan residents will receive $ 626 million for getting sick from contaminated water.
After years of legal dispute, thousands of Flint residents have succeeded in proving negligence on the part of the authorities and will be rewarded monetarily.
In 2014, in the cold state of Michigan, the small town of Flint was on everyone's lips. The authorities of that city, trying to reduce costs, approved the water supply from a highly polluted river. As a result, thousands of residents fell ill, and one of the country's worst health crises in memory was generated.
Since 2016 there has been a class-action lawsuit against city authorities who acted negligently. Today, a judge approved an agreement between the parties by which 626 million dollars will be distributed among 90 thousand residents who were victims of the poor performance of their politicians.
The lawsuit alleges that at least 8,000 children were permanently affected by lead poisoning, and more than 30,000 homes were rendered unusable after their pipes were corrupted to the point of making the home unsafe.
"Although this is a significant victory for Flint, we still have a long way to go to prevent Americans from being systematically poisoned in their homes, schools, and workplaces," he said in a statement sent to the media. Corey Stern, class action attorney.
The money will be distributed to all city residents in 2014. Those who can prove they got sick, children, who had businesses there, and all those who paid for water service in Flint back then.
Twelve people died when city authorities decided in 2014 to make the Flint River the water source, and they did not treat that water to purify it. As a result, neighbors began to complain about the water's lousy color, smell, and taste. But as the days went by, people began to get sick.
The disease was dubbed Legionnaires' syndrome, and overnight some 100,000 residents discovered they had no access to clean water.
"This agreement represents a great victory for several reasons.
First, it provides comprehensive compensation for those who qualify and serve as role models, "Judge Judith Levy said in a statement following the settlement.
Most of the money will go to the state of Michigan, accused of turning a blind eye to the problem for years.
This settlement is for the civil lawsuit. The criminal complaint was dismissed last year due to lack of evidence in the case.
In addition to the polluted river water, the situation worsened when private companies working with the city recommended doubling the dose of ferric chloride. This highly acidic product worsened the corrosion of the pipes, filtering lead.
The private company will have to take charge of part of the financial compensation. Still, since the lawsuit establishes that the then governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, and other senior officials were aware of what was happening, most of the responsibility falls on the state.
The central affected community in Flint was African-American. As a result, the cause became one of the most supported human rights organizations.