ATRA Reiterates Support for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Use to Address Mass Tort Litigation, Urges Meaningful Dialogue Amid Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
ATRA Statement on Mistrial in Latest Flint Water Civil Trial
August 11, 2022 (WASHINGTON) – Today, a Federal Magistrate Judge in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Michigan declared a mistrial after a jury convened in good faith and could […]
August 11, 2022 (WASHINGTON) – Today, a Federal Magistrate Judge in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Michigan declared a mistrial after a jury convened in good faith and could not reach a decision in the civil trial against two engineering companies that conducted testing after the Flint water contamination in 2014.
Statement from American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) President Tiger Joyce:
“Today’s decision to declare a mistrial proves that costly and time-consuming litigation primarily benefits trial lawyers and not the people of Flint, Michigan. Despite this bellwether trial lasting seven months, plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in previous Flint water settlements have already indicated plans for another costly civil trial in order to score a massive payday for themselves. The statements made today by plaintiffs’ attorneys are irresponsible and demonstrate that they believe the purpose of our civil justice system is not to find liability but rather to destroy a business.
“These same attorneys were involved in the original $626 million Flint water settlement, where trial lawyers took home almost one third of the settlement in legal fees. This latest case is another clear example of how unscrupulous litigators utilize their trial lawyer playbook to exploit victims to enrich themselves—by targeting anyone with deep pockets. While ATRA is still concerned about future litigation, we must respect today’s decision, whether we agree with it or not.
“From the beginning in 2014, the crisis in Flint has required leaders to seek creative solutions to address these problems and provide needed support to those who were injured through no fault of their own. We still need these leaders—not profit-seeking lawyers—to step up and serve the public interest by addressing the needs of those who truly suffered in Flint. The civil justice system is not equipped to meet the needs of the public in this matter.”
In February, U.S. District Court Judge Judith E. Levy approved a historic $626 million settlement related to the Flint water crisis. Trial lawyers walked away with nearly $200 million in legal fees—almost one third of the $626 million settlement paid by the State of Michigan—while victims on average received a $4,500 payout.
ATRA’s Tiger Joyce also penned an op-ed earlier this month, shining a light on how this latest flint water trial was unlikely to result in help for the victims.
The lack of oversight and transparency around third-party litigation funding threatens the integrity of our legal system
Together, let’s forge a legal landscape that makes equitable access to justice a living reality for all Georgians.
This is an opportunity to reassess the practices and regulations surrounding private-attorney contracting and to enact reforms that promote fairness, transparency and value for taxpayer dollars.
Allowing the company to continue the bankruptcy process will help ensure equitable and efficient resolution in complex mass tort claims