BASIC OVERVIEW

1.  Why is this notice being provided?


You have a right to know about a proposed class action settlement and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give “final approval” to the settlement. This notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what settlement fund money will be available, who is eligible, and how to get money from the settlement fund.Judge Judith E. Levy of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is overseeing this lawsuit. The settlement resolves multiple lawsuits now known as In re Flint Water Cases, Case No. 5:16-cv-10444 (E.D. Mich.), as well as other Flint water-related lawsuits that are pending in the Circuit Court for Genesee County, Michigan and the Michigan Court of Claims, and their respective appellate courts. Judge Levy approved this notice.The persons who filed lawsuits are called the “plaintiffs,” and the persons, companies or government entities being sued in the lawsuits, are called the “defendants.” Some of the defendants in the cases have agreed to the settlement. They are the Settling Defendants. The Settling Defendants are: The State of Michigan; Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy); Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Michigan Department of Treasury; former Governor Richard D. Snyder; Governor Gretchen Whitmer; the City of Flint; the Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board; Darnell Earley; Howard Croft; Michael Glasgow; Gerald Ambrose; Edward Kurtz; Michael Brown; Dayne Walling; Daugherty Johnson; Liane Shekter Smith; Daniel Wyant; Stephen Busch; Kevin Clinton; Patrick Cook; Linda Dykema; Michael Prysby; Bradley Wurfel; Eden Wells; Nick Lyon; Dennis Muchmore; Nancy Peeler; Robert Scott; Adam Rosenthal; Andy Dillon; McLaren Regional Medical Center, McLaren Flint Hospital; and Rowe Professional Services Company. This settlement only resolves claims against the Settling Defendants that have agreed to pay for the settlement. It does not stop claims against other defendants that have not agreed to a settlement. This means that the cases will continue against any defendant that has not settled.




2.  What is this lawsuite about?


There are thousands of lawsuits and claims. The lawsuits assert that residents of Flint and others who used or were exposed to water from the FWTP between April 25, 2014 and November __, 2020, suffered personal injury, property damage, economic loss, or any other type of damage or injury as a result of exposure to, use of, or being obligated to pay for, the contaminated water. Some lawsuits were filed by Individual Plaintiffs and some lawsuits were filed as a class action - on behalf of those exposed to the water. Individual Plaintiffs are every person or entity (business) that has already hired their own individual lawyer to represent them in the litigation. A complete list of all Individual Plaintiffs is available at www.XXXXXXXXXXXX.com. If you are an Individual Plaintiff, please contact your lawyer. The lawsuits claim that when the City of Flint switched to the Flint River as the source of water in 2014, the water was not treated correctly and that it caused pipes to corrode and release lead and other contaminants into the water. [insert note about allegations related to McLaren?]

Plaintiffs allege that exposure to contaminated water received from the Flint Water Treatment Plant (located at 4500 Dort Highway, Flint, Michigan 48506), between April 25, 2014 to November __, 2020, has caused a public health crisis.

Plaintiffs also allege that Settling Defendants made the situation worse by, among other things, concealing and misrepresenting the scope of the water contamination, failing to take effective action to eliminate the source of the contamination, failing to properly treat the water in general and within McLaren Regional Medical Center and McLaren Flint Hospital, failing to properly provide engineering services and advice on treating and addressing contamination of the water, and then lying about it to cover up the misconduct.

Settling Defendants deny any and all alleged liability, wrongdoing, violations, and/or damages any of them allegedly caused with respect to any and all claims asserted or that could have been asserted in the lawsuits. The Court has not decided who is right, but both the Plaintiffs and the Settling Defendants have agreed to a settlement to end the lawsuits and avoid further related costs and burdens.




3. Why is there a settlement?


Certain lawyers representing Plaintiffs were appointed by United States District Judge Levy to leadership positions and given the authority by the Court to conduct settlement negotiations. Those lawyers engaged in settlement negotiations with the Settling Defendants under the direction of Mediators and a Special Master, who are persons appointed by the Court to help the parties resolve the litigation.

After careful consideration, the Plaintiffs’ Counsel have concluded that it is in Plaintiffs’ best interest to compromise and settle the claims in the lawsuits for the money and other benefits included in the Settlement Program. Counsel for the Settlement Class have also determined that this Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class Members.

Settling Defendants and their respective counsel agree with Plaintiffs and their respective counsel that this Settlement Agreement is a fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution of the litigation.

Both sides agreed to settle to avoid the cost and risk of litigation.




4.  Why is it called a "proposed class action settlement"?


It is called a proposed settlement because it cannot become final until it is approved by the Court. Proposed class action settlements typically are reviewed by a court twice: once for preliminary approval and once for final approval. Here, the Court has given the proposed settlement preliminary approval, and has conditionally certified a Settlement Class. However, the Court cannot decide whether to finally approve the proposed settlement until the Final Fairness Hearing (described below in response to Question 34).





WHO IS IN THE CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT?

5.  How do I know if I am part of the class action settlement?


To see if you will be affected by the class action settlement or if you can receive money from it, you first have to determine if you are a Settlement Class Member.

The Settlement Class includes all persons or entities who suffered personal injury, property damage, economic loss, or any other type of damage or injury as a result of exposure to, use of, or being obligated to pay for, the contaminated water at any time between April 25, 2014 and November __, 2020, they:

  1. Were an Adult (18 years or older) or entity that owned or lived in a residence that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant, or were legally liable for the payment of such water;
  2. Owned or operated a business including income earning real property (meaning a rental house or other business property) and any other businesses, that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant, or were legally liable for the payment for such water; or
  3. Were an Adult (18 years or older) who ingested or came into contact with water (for example you drank, ate, cooked, bathed, showered, washed clothing or washed dishes with the water) received from the Flint Water Treatment Plant.[1]

In addition to the Settlement Class, the Settlement Agreement also includes the following three Subclasses:

  1. Adult Exposure Subclass: all persons who were Adults (18 years or older) at any time during the period April 25, 2014 to November __, 2020, and who ingested or came into contact with water (for example you drank, ate, cooked, bathed, showered, washed clothing or washed dishes with the water) received from the Flint Water Treatment Plant at any time during the period April 25, 2014 to November __, 2020, and who are claiming or could claim a resulting personal injury.
  2. Business Economic Loss Subclass: all individuals or entities who owned or operated a business, including income earning real property (meaning a rental house or other business property) and any other businesses, that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant at any time during the period April 25, 2014 to November __, 2020, and who are claiming or could claim a resulting business economic loss.
  3. Property Damage Subclass: all Adults or entities who owned or were the lessee of residential real property that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant, or were legally liable for the payment for such water, at any time during the period April 25, 2014 to November __, 2020.

Exhibits to the Settlement Agreement list people or entities that are represented individually and are therefore excluded from the Settlement Class. Visit the settlement website at www.xxxxxx.com to see a complete list of all excluded people or entities.

[1] If you were a minor when you were exposed to the water (during the Exposure Period), then you are eligible for money as a minor and you are also eligible for the Future Minor Claimants Fund, even if you turned 18 during the Exposure Period and fall within the definition of the Adult Exposure Subclass. For more information about your rights and the claims you may make, please got to the website www.xxxxxx.com or call 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx or consult your attorney.




6.  What is the "exposure period"?


The Exposure Period is the time period between the date the City of Flint switched its water supply to draw from the Flint River (April 25, 2014) and the date the Settlement Agreement was signed by the Plaintiffs and the Settling Defendants (November __, 2020). In order to be a member of the Settlement Class, you must have been exposed to water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant during this time period.




7.  Are minors (children, adolescents, and teens) included in the settlement?


No. Minors are not included in the Settlement Class and the information in this notice does not address the specific rights of minors. The Settlement Program provides compensation for minors on an individual basis. Minors have the right to have a Claim Form filed on their behalf and may submit a Registration Form for money from the Settlement Program by the same deadline that is specified in this notice. But minors have an additional opportunity to later submit a Registration Form and receive a payment. Specifically, minors will still be able to submit a Registration Form after the deadline as Future Minor Claimants up until their 19th birthday. This right is consistent with Michigan law, which provides that injured minors may pursue claims up until their 19th birthday. If you are acting on behalf of a minor child who was exposed to water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant between April 25, 2014 to November __, 2020, you should read more about the options for Minors at the settlement website: www.xxxxx.com. If you have an attorney you should speak to that attorney. You can hire an attorney to assist you with your claim, but you are not required to have an attorney.

[7-1] If you were a minor when you were exposed to the water (during the Exposure Period), then you are eligible for money as a minor and you are also eligible for the Future Minor Claimants Fund, even if you turned 18 during the Exposure Period and fall within the definition of the Adult Exposure Subclass. For more information about your rights and the claims you may make, please got to the website www.xxxxxx.com or call 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx or consult your attorney.




8.  Is anyone excluded from the Settlement Class?


Yes, some categories of people are excluded from the Settlement Class. The Settlement Class does not include: (1) Settling Defendants; (2) the judicial officers to whom this case is assigned in the Federal Court, Genesee County Circuit Court, and Court of Claims, their staff, and the members of their immediate families; (3) all Individual Plaintiffs (which means persons or entities that hired their own individual lawyer to represent them in the litigation); (4) persons who were minors during the Exposure Period and (5) all persons who are defined as members of the class but who timely opt out of the Settlement Class. A list of Adults who have hired lawyers and are excluded from the Settlement Class is posted on the settlement website.




9.  What if I am not sure if I am a Settlement Class Member?


If you are not sure whether you are a Settlement Class Member, or have any other questions about the settlement, visit the settlement website at www.xxxxxxxxxx.com or call the toll free number, xxx-xxx-xxxx. You may also write with questions to Claims Administrator, PO Box xxxx, [City, State Zip] or send an e-mail to xxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.com.





REGISTRATION FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE SETTLEMENT CATEGORY


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

How do I schedule a bone scan test?


The Following is a link that will lead you to the online scheduling system for bone scan testings. Please click the link and follow the provided instructions. https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=20348515&appointmentType=20441764




When will the funds be distributed?


At this time, it cannot be determined when the funds will be distributed. There are several steps in the settlement process that will impact the date of fund distribution. More specifically, the timing of fund distribution depends on the number of claims submitted, the time it takes to process the claims, and how many claimants appeal the claims administrator’s decision. If the settlement continues to move forward after the initial registration, then there is a claims period that will end at the end of August [ insert date]. In addition, the Court must decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement. After that, the claims administrator must complete the evaluation of claims, and individual claimants will have a right to seek reconsideration of the claim decision. After the total amount of claims is known, the claims administrator will provide an initial distribution calculation – which could require some further review by the Court. It is also possible that an objector might decide to appeal the approval of the settlement and that would create a delay. If the court issues final approval and there are no appeals, then it is possible, but not certain, that payments could be issued in the first quarter of 2022.





REGISTRATION FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE SETTLEMENT PROGRAM

Do I need to submit a Registration Form to receive money from the Settlement Program?


Yes, if you want to receive any money from the Settlement Program, you MUST file a Registration Form online or mailed and postmarked by March 29, 2021. Filing a Registration Form is a simple and a necessary first step to get money. You can file your Registration Form online at www.officialflintwatersettlement.com, or you can also send your Registration Form in by mail to Flint Water Settlement Program, 1775 Saint James Place, Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77056. If you received this notice by mail, a Registration Form was included. You can also download one on this website.

The Claims Administrator will send a Claim Form to everyone who submitted or sent in a completed, timely Registration Form that is not deficient. Again, you will not be able to file a Claim Form unless you submit a Registration Form by the deadline.




How do I know if I can submit a Registration Form?


Anyone may submit a Registration Form if during the period April 25, 2014 to November 16, 2020, you are claiming or could claim personal injury, property damage, business economic loss, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, or any other type of damage, injury, or relief, and:

  1. You owned, rented, or lived in a residence that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant, or were legally liable for the payment of bills for such water;

  2. You owned or operated a business that received water from the Flint Water Treatment Plant, or were legally liable for the payment of bills for such water;

  3. You ingested or came into contact (for example, you drank, ate, cooked, bathed, showered, washed clothing or washed dishes) with water received from the Flint Water Treatment Plant, for at least twenty-one (21) days during any thirty (30) day period, during the period April 25, 2014 to November 16, 2020; or

  4. During the period April 25, 2014 through December 31, 2018, you were both exposed to water received from the Flint Water Treatment Plant during that time, and you were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease.

If you are not sure if you qualify, you should submit a Registration Form now to make sure you preserve your rights.




What is the review process for my Registration Form once it is submitted?


The Claims Administrator will review each Registration Form and decide whether it contains all the required information and whether it was submitted on time.

If you did not submit all the information, the Claims Administrator will send you a notice explaining what is missing or why you may not qualify. If your Registration Form is returned to you as incomplete or defective, you will have an opportunity to correct your Registration Form. There will be a deadline to submit the corrected form.

The Claims Administrator will notify you whether your corrected form is accepted or not. The settlement website has information about how to submit the Registration Form (download HERE). There are instructions included with the Registration Form to help you as well.




How do I get a Registration Form?


Registration Forms are available here for anyone, including individuals who are members of the Settlement Class or who have not retained separate counsel to represent them. If you are a Class Member, Class Counsel is available to respond to any questions you may have.

Click HERE to complete the Registration Form online.

Download a print Registration Form HERE.

You may submit a paper Registration Form by mail by sending it to Flint Water Settlement Program, 1775 St. James Place, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77056.

Please note, you should act immediately to request a Registration Form if you did not receive a Registration Form by mail, since the deadline to file a Registration Form is March 29, 2021.




Do I have to file both a Registration Form and then later a Claim Form?


Yes. The Settlement Agreement requires that if you want money from the Settlement Program, you must first file a Registration Form. The Registration Form is the first step in the process. After the Court has approved the settlement, everyone who filed a valid, complete, and timely Registration Form establishing eligibility will be provided a Claim Form and instructions for filling it out. You must complete the Claim Form in its entirety and timely file the Claim Form.




Can I request reconsideration or appeal a decision regarding my forms?


Yes. If your Registration Form or Claim Form is denied, you can request reconsideration or you can appeal the denial. The process and deadlines for requesting reconsideration or appealing a denial will be provided to anyone who receives a notice that their Registration or Claim Form was denied.




How do I request a mail-in registration form?


You may request that a Registration Form be mailed to you by calling the Claims Administrator’s toll-free number at 800-493-1754; or by writing to the Claims Administrator at following address: Flint Water Settlement Program, 1775 Saint James Place, Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77056.

A Registration Form is also included on this site. You may download a version HERE or CLICK HERE to create an account and complete the form online.




Are there instructions for filling out the Registration Form?


You may download the instructions for filling out the Registration Form HERE.




Can a registrant, attorney representing a claimant in registration, or a next friend execute registration documents utilizing electronic signatures such as through DocuSign?


Yes. A registrant or next friend who is not represented by counsel must sign the form and may sign it either directly (by hand) or electronically using an approved electronic method like DocuSign. If an attorney has been retained by a registrant or their next friend, then either the registrant, next friend or attorney must sign the registration and may sign it either by hand or electronically such as through DocuSign. An attorney may only sign with permission of their client or their client’s next friend.

Please note that opt out forms must be signed by the individual person seeking to opt out or the next friend of such person. Opt out forms cannot be signed by an individual’s attorney.




Who can serve as a "Next Friend"?


A "Next Friend" is a person authorized by the Court's Order to represent the interests of a minor or a legally incapacitated individual. The Court has authorized the following types of persons to act as a Next Friend: parent (natural or adoptive), grandparent, legal guardian, existing court-appointed representative, adult sibling (full, half, or step), or adult aunt or uncle.




Do I have to submit identification documents with my registration form?


No. Although the registration form indicates that you should submit an identification document (like a copy of a driver’s license) your registration form will still be counted if you are not able to submit that document right now. You will have to submit this identification at a later stage in the process. But If you are able to get an identification document, you are encouraged to submit it with the registration. It will help to speed up the claims process if the identification document is submitted as soon as possible.




I am filing on behalf of a minor child or an incapacitated adult. The instructions say I have to submit documents that show I qualify as a ‘next friend’. Do I have to submit those documents in order to register for the child or incapacitated adult?


No. You do not need to submit next friend documents to register the minor child or incapacitated adult. You will have to submit next friend documents at a later stage in the process. But you can go ahead and register without submitting next friend documents. If you are able to get your next friend documents now, you are encouraged to submit them with the registration. It will help speed up the claims process if the next friend documents are submitted as soon as possible.




I am a foster parent and don’t yet have access to the child’s SSN. Can I still register my foster child?


Yes. If your registration form is missing information, you will be notified. But you should get the registration started. You can register online or by mail using the paper form. You should try to get the information as soon as you can. If you need assistance, contact the claims administrator.




I am a next friend for a child and I have not been able to confirm all the information requested on the registration form. What should I do? Can I register the child?


Yes. To register, all you need to do at this time is fill out the top section (name) and check the appropriate box (generally box 3 for children), sign and provide contact information for yourself. The other information will be required but it can be provided later in the process.




Do I have to submit a separate registration form for each child?


Yes, each person is a separate registrant and claimant.




What happens if more than one person registers the same child?


We know that there will be duplicate registrations. We will identify those and address them later in the process.




Do I need to get my water bill records to show that I lived in a house that received water during the exposure period?


A water bill addressed in your name is one possible form of proof. The information you need to support your claim will be explained at the claim form stage which will occur after registration is complete. The Claims Administrator already has a complete list of Flint water customers for the entire exposure period. You do not need to obtain any records from the City at this time. You will receive further instructions later in the process.





ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

How do I schedule a bone scan test?


The Following is a link that will lead you to the online scheduling system for bone scan testings. Please click the link and follow the provided instructions. https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=20348515&appointmentType=20441764




When will the funds be distributed?


At this time, it cannot be determined when the funds will be distributed. There are several steps in the settlement process that will impact the date of fund distribution. More specifically, the timing of fund distribution depends on the number of claims submitted, the time it takes to process the claims, and how many claimants appeal the claims administrator’s decision. If the settlement continues to move forward after the initial registration, then there is a claims period that will end at the end of August [ insert date]. In addition, the Court must decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement. After that, the claims administrator must complete the evaluation of claims, and individual claimants will have a right to seek reconsideration of the claim decision. After the total amount of claims is known, the claims administrator will provide an initial distribution calculation – which could require some further review by the Court. It is also possible that an objector might decide to appeal the approval of the settlement and that would create a delay. If the court issues final approval and there are no appeals, then it is possible, but not certain, that payments could be issued in the first quarter of 2022.





MORE INFORMATION