City of Flint Resolution Asks for Transparency in Water Crisis Settlement

Flint, Michigan’s Mayor and City Council have submitted a resolution to Judge Judith E. Levy of the Eastern District of Michigan, who is overseeing the Flint Water Crisis litigation. The Monday-filed document asserts that the city has undergone much trauma as a result of the poisoning of its residents and requests that Judge Levy appoint a special master or expert to ensure that the settlement process is open and fair.

The one-page resolution comes after the plaintiffs’ attorneys recently moved for fees on the preliminarily approved $600 million settlement. Flint’s submission argued that the public would benefit from an expert’s independent review, citing the length and breadth of the motion and its supporting documents.

While the mayor and council took no position on the motion, the resolution stated that “the Flint community needs transparency at every step of this settlement process, including the Court’s review of the motion for attorneys’ fees and, in particular, the reimbursement of expenses.”

Last week, three settlement class members through their counsel, Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF), filed an objection to the motion for attorneys’ fees and asked Judge Levy to deny fee approval until certain billing records and fee sharing agreements are disclosed. The CCAF brief argued that the fee motion lacks detail and transparency. Consequently, the filing noted that the objecting plaintiffs will soon be moving to inspect hourly time records and expenses.  

The court has scheduled a video status conference for Wednesday. According to the agenda, the court and parties will discuss the status of the “Adult Bellwether Plaintiff” selection process and the court and currently appointed special master will address follow-up issues related to deadlines in the partial settlement.