MediaFrolic’s Ailsa Chang speaks with Ted Leopold, Co-Leader Counsel for the Flint, Michigan People, after a judge approved a settlement for victims of the city’s water crisis.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
A federal judge has approved a $ 626 million settlement for victims of the Flint water crisis. The residents there were exposed to contaminated drinking water after the city changed its water supply in 2014 to save costs. Ted Leopold is Co-Lead Counsel for the people of Flint and is joining us now.
TED LEOPOLD: Thank you. Thanks for the invitation.
CHANG: I would like to elaborate on some aspects of the judge’s decision today, as she took into account several objections to this settlement. Specifically, it was about the technology that a company used to determine if residents’ bones were contaminated with lead, which could help determine how much money a resident was entitled to in that settlement, right?
LEOPOLD: That is correct. So one of the companies has what is known as bone scanning. And their customers are gone as far as I know, and some may continue to go through that process. But that’s only one aspect there. We have set up another aspect for the community and those who wish to participate in order to achieve a fair and full recovery of their injuries and damage through neuropsychological testing. So we will have these tests done with experts and doctors from all over the country and test anyone who wishes – not just adults, but children as well.
CHANG: Okay, so a resident can determine a number of ways how much money is owed to them.
LEOPOLD: That’s right.
CHANG: And there has been some disapproval from local residents who say this deal is insufficient. Can Flint residents opt out of this settlement and initiate other separate lawsuits if they are not satisfied with the amount specified here?
LEOPOLD: You can unsubscribe. There was a timeframe for both those who wanted to raise objections to raise their objections, which Judge Levy has responded to, and for those who would like to be excluded from this settlement process. So all of that has been taken into account.
CHANG: But at this point, no one else can get out, can they?
LEOPOLD: That’s right. They either take part or they don’t.
CHANG: Okay. But just to be clear, there are separate lawsuits pending in addition to this class action lawsuit related to what happened in Flint, right?
LEOPOLD: Right. There is. And I think that brings up a topic that you just asked about, quote, “not enough money,” if you will, from some people within the community. And you know, in something like this, it has such a catastrophic impact on a community, and especially the Flint community, which has been through such difficult times historically that, you know, no amount of money could ever cure what happened. But we think that this is a large sum of money that can hopefully bring justice, or at least the semblance of justice, to what happened and get people to close – but also that that over $ 600 million is an aspect of the case. There are other engineering firms – private engineering firms, which have been complained about in the case. We – Judge Levy recently certified this case. And if this case is not resolved, we will be happy and will work hard to prepare this case for the trial. So there are additional funds available.
CHANG: Ted Leopold is Co-Lead Counsel for Flint Residents.
Thank you for joining us today.
LEOPOLD: Thank you.
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