Settlement Agreement Bars State From Weighing in on Attorneys' Fees in Flint Civil Litigation Unless Asked by Court

Contact: Ryan Jarvi 517-599-2746
Agency: Attorney General

March 9, 2021

LANSING – Following a filing for attorneys’ fees submitted by plaintiffs’ counsel in the Flint water civil litigation against the State of Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office is noting that the State is prohibited from offering an opinion on the amount sought unless specifically asked by the Court.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a motion Monday with the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan seeking $202 million of the $641.5 million settlement.

The amount of Flint water settlement funds that will be used to pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees and expenses will be decided by the Court. Courts are regularly required to rule on plaintiffs’ attorney fee requests in cases like this. The Court is in the best position to make that determination and is experienced with the legal standards applicable to such a request and is familiar with the work of plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Flint water cases.

Under the State’s settlement agreement with plaintiffs, unless the Court itself requests, the State cannot take any position on plaintiffs’ application for attorney fees and expenses. The State’s agreement is not unusual and is a term typically demanded by plaintiffs’ attorneys in similar settlements. The State will rely on the discretion of the Court to determine the fair and appropriate amount of settlement funds that will be paid to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

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