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Flint Residents, Community Advocates Say Lawyers Are Trying To Take A Large Settlement Portion

(CBS DETROIT) - Tensions are brewing in Flint, where victims of the water crisis are calling the lawyers in the case greedy and accusing them of trying to take off with 32% of the $641 million settlement.

"Flint is not the weakest link. Go somewhere else and peddle your thousand dollars," said Carolyn Schannon, a resident of Flint.

One thousand dollars, that's what some plaintiffs in the Flint water settlement case say they were offered, and others say they won't be getting a dime.

Freddie Fisher, who was affected by the water crisis, said, "Do not take all of the money because they're not from here. They weren't affected by it, we was. Don't come here and just grab the money from us."

Out of the 50,000 people registered in the settlement, the average payout is about $20, and the victims are calling the average offer a slap in the face.

Karen Weaver, the former Flint Mayor, said, "Because the residents have been duped, and that's why we're all here, and that's why we should be here. One of the things we heard them say yesterday was this was fair, reasonable, and adequate, and it's none of those things."

On Tuesday, July 13, community advocates rallied outside the Genessee County Courthouse, demanding for the lawyers in the case to cut their $202 million legal fees.

Representatives from Michigan Lawsuit Abuse watch told CW50 that every one percent cut from attorney fees would provide an extra doctor's visit to 26,000 Flint children exposed to lead.

"We know these attorney's worked hard, and they deserve fair compensation but what we're saying is that an organization called Center for Class Action Lawsuits has looked at class action lawsuits like this all over the country, and they think on an average, on empirical data, that they should get about 15-20% for their fee," said Bob Dorigo Jones, the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch President.

The group also claims that victims must show proof of lead exposure, and the representing attorneys are using a controversial device to track exposure in the bones.

They say the problem is that the technology is meant to scan lead in rocks, not humans.

CW50's Cryss Walker reported the six lead attorneys on the case have been contacted for a response, but the calls were not returned.

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