Due to a water switch in April 2014 to the City of Flint’s water supply, Flint residents rang the alarm almost immediately about a serious change in their water quality. Although the water supply was switched back to water sourced from Lake Huron in 2015, the damage had been done.
As a result of the 2014 switch, the Flint Water Crisis has become an ongoing public health crisis that has left a lasting effect on so many who call Flint home.
In early 2016, then Governor Rick Snyder declared a State of Emergency in Genesee County and an investigation was launched by the former Office of Special Counsel— appointed by then Attorney General Bill Schuette.
In late 2018, Attorney General Dana Nessel was elected and upon taking office in 2019, she made decisions to put a conflict wall in place that allowed her to lead the civil litigation into the Flint Water Crisis. The Office of Special Counsel was no longer needed, and Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy were tapped to lead the criminal investigation.
See below for more information regarding both the civil litigation and criminal investigation into the Flint Water Crisis.
To ensure both the civil and criminal sides could perform their duties independently in response to the Flint Water Crisis, and pursuant to the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, a conflict wall was established within the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
This process prohibits the exchange of information between staff on either side of the conflict wall, allowing those on the civil litigation side to uphold the office's responsibilities in serving as legal counsel for state agencies and officials, while also allowing the criminal prosecution team to proceed with its independent investigation.
The conflict wall prohibits the two sides from engaging in discussions concerning their respective efforts and ensures the ethical integrity of both civil proceedings and criminal prosecution.
Attorney General Nessel assigned herself to the civil side of the wall and Solicitor General Hammoud was assigned to the criminal side to co-lead the investigation with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy.
Upon assuming office in January 2019, Attorney General Nessel’s first major decision was to bring the Flint Water Crisis criminal cases in house to be led by experienced public prosecutors. Between 2016-2018, then Attorney General Bill Schuette had commissioned a private, for-profit law firm – designated as the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) -- to lead the probe, with lead attorney Todd Flood reporting directly to Mr. Schuette.
On January 14, 2019, Attorney General Nessel appointed career prosecutor Fadwa Hammoud as Solicitor General and immediately assigned her to lead the Flint investigation and associated cases. Prior, Attorney General Nessel had requested Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym L. Worthy review the pending criminal cases and possibly co-lead the prosecutions. On February 15, after a thorough assessment of the pending cases, Solicitor General Hammoud announced that Prosecutor Worthy would co-lead the prosecution team.
Nessel entrusted Hammoud and Worthy with two overarching goals: 1) hold any wrongdoers accountable for their actions, and 2) ensure the integrity of their work so that the residents of Flint could trust the process.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is leading the legal team working toward a resolution in the civil lawsuits that were filed after the Flint River was used as the main water supply for the city of Flint and its residents.
Dozens of cases affecting tens of thousands of people have been filed and a preliminary settlement agreement has been submitted to the Court for its review. The settlement follows months of negotiations between state attorneys and plaintiffs' counsel as the parties worked toward a resolution to provide relief to the people of Flint. For the settlement to be finalized, Court approval is necessary and additional steps from the parties may be required.
In her commitment to the people of Flint and to the rest of Michigan’s taxpayers, Attorney General Nessel is determined to find the best possible resolution for all parties involved and bring closure to a distinctly significant settlement discussion. In doing so, the Attorney General and her team will have helped reach what could potentially be the largest settlement in the history of the State of Michigan.
Registration Process to Begin for Residents Making Claims