Essay on Children Dying in Woburn Massachusetts Because of Illegal Dumping

Essay on Children Dying in Woburn Massachusetts Because of Illegal Dumping

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For 20 years, in Woburn, Massachusetts, there were more than dozens of cases of childhood leukemia due to contamination of the local wells. This contamination was brought by companies and their chemical waste dumping. The families had children dying and few surviving, therefore they pursued legal help. After hiring a lawyer, the case becomes viral over the duration of the settlement. The struggle between the companies, the lawyer, and the families increased over time but soon saw a solution.
In the 1970s, engineers found contaminants in the local wells: Well H and Well G. They found suspected carcinogens including trichloroethylene (TCE) known to cause cancer. Families gathered after the Anderson family noticed the recurring events of a rare disease in a small town. Although Woburn had a history of industrial activity, the two major companies that contributed to the contaminants were W.R. Grace Co. and Beatrice Foods. The families sought help and went to a Boston lawyer, Joe Mulligan, and signed his firm. No one picked up the case due to not enough evidence, but Jan Schlictmann, who was a newcomer, picked up the Woburn case. Although advised to neglect it, he still looked into it. He joined with a non-profit firm who were seeking an environmental case like Woburn’s. They quickly filed a complaint against the two major companies.
After introducing the case, the companies attacked. Beatrice Foods hired a trial lawyer, Jerome Facher, to represent them. W.R. Grace Co. hired William Cheeseman and his firm to represent them. Cheeseman filed a Rule 11 motion against Schlictmann and the firm to end the case as soon as possible, but he refused questioning which led to having a hearing directed by Judge Skinner. Schlictmann then leaves Jo...

... middle of paper ...

... against Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace to pay for the clean-up effort in the Woburn area which totaled to $69 million. Close to losing his sanity, Schlictmann ran away and attempted suicide.

Works Cited

• Boynton, Robert S. (1997). Jonathan Harr. The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. Retrieved from
• Horton, J. (1986). Sterling v. Velsicol Chemical Corporation. The Environmental Law Reporter: The Best Legal Resource On Earth. Retrieved from
• Asimow. M. (1999). In Toxic Tort Litigation, Truth Lies at the Bottom of a Bottomless Pit. Retrieved from
• Harr, J. (1995). A Civil Action. New York: Random House, Inc.

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