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 http://newnewjournalism.com/bio.php?last_name=harr • Horton, J. (1986). Sterling v. Velsicol Chemical Corporation. The Environmental Law Reporter: The Best Legal Resource On Earth. Retrieved from http://elr.info/litigation/%5Bfield_article_volume-raw%5D/20081/sterling-v-velsicol-chem-corp • Asimow. M. (1999). In Toxic Tort Litigation, Truth Lies at the Bottom of a Bottomless Pit. Retrieved from http://usf.usfca.edu/pj//articles/Civil_Action-Asimow.htm • Harr, J. (1995). A Civil Action. New York: Random House, Inc.
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In their defense Pittston made attempts to distort the truth. They tried to separate themselves from the Buffalo Coal Company the subsidiary company which operated the failed dam. Pittston had the equity to compensate the plaintiffs while the Buffalo Coal Company was not valued high enough to give victims compensation. The lawyers from Arnold & Porter chose to sue the parent company because it was necessary to reach an adequate settlement. Psychic-impairment was used by the plaintiffs because it would give them the most compensation, and made up for the maximum amount state law allowed.
Jan Schlichtmann, a successful lawyer, is approached by Anne Anderson and eight other families who wish for him to represent their case against big name companies W.R. Grace & Co. and Beatrice Foods Inc. Anderson believes that the improper disposal of toxic chemicals polluted the local groundwater in their town of Woburn, Massachusetts, causing leukemia in eight children (including her own) and ultimately resulting in their tragic demise.1 Schlichtmann was driven by the possibility of earning a large sum of money from this case, but in the end it was the desire for righteousness that lead him and his three colleagues to bankruptcy. After reaching a settlement of 8 million dollars, neither Anderson nor the families were content seeing as they
When a chemical company called Krane Chemicals poisons the ground water with chemical toxic waste hundreds of people die of cancer or get seriously ill. When Mary Grace and Wes Payton win the case the against the company, the shares drop dramatically. Carl Trudeau, who owns an impressive amount of shares looses over one billion dollars in one day, an...
Fatcher will do whatever he can to prevent those families from appearing in trial. Mr. Schlichtmann continues his discovery through depositions and also gets a court order giving him the right to inspect the land that the tannery is on. This is a very expensive process as he must hire many scientists to get the evidence needed to build a persuasive argument. At the tannery one day Fatcher comes to see Mr. Schlichtmann to talk about settling the case, Fatcher offers to cover all of the expenses that the firm has undergone though at the end of the conversation Fatcher throws out a slight threat. The next scene they are meeting for a formal settlement with Mr. Cheeseman and the other associates present, but again the settlement attempt is un successful as the asking settlement number is 320 million dollars. Trial starts, it begins with the opening statements where they state a brief summary of the facts. They proceed to call witnesses to the stand and question them. At this point in the trial we return to Fatcher’s threat of not allowing those families to testify in
A couple things the Hooker Electrochemical Corporation should have thought about was the respect for persons model and confidentiality. Respect for person means that actions will protect/respect human’s moral agency (Harris, Pritchard, Rabins, James, Englehardt, 1995). At the time, only the School Board knew about the toxic chemicals. However, the corporation should have informed all the citizens so they could make their own logical decisions whether to stay or relocate to another area. It’s definitely crucial to not hold information especially when citizen’s health and safety are at risk. As a result, many people reported that chemicals were entering their houses, women would report miscarriages, children would have high percentages of birth
In Woburn, Massachusetts, 8 children died of leukaemia and 12 of them got sick. 8 out of 12 of them lived within a half-mile radius of each other. Residents claimed that the water smelled "foul and ill-smelling" after a well was opened in 1964 near the industrial park, causing the city to shut it down. In 1979, Trichloroethylene (TCE) and silicone were found in the contaminated well water. The families, Toomey, Auferius, Andersons, Robbins, and Keynes, contacted Jan Schichtman, a personal injury lawyer from Boston. He has a personal testimony of a former employee of Grace who witnessed dumping chemicals in the water. Significant toxic pollution was found in 2 of the city's waterwells. Jan wanted a settlement of $25 million to clean up the contamination,
In the film A Civil Action by John Travolta, several families sued two important companies for the death of their children. The plaintiffs alleged that two companies; Beatrice foods and WR grace, were the source of the deaths due to discarding toxic waste in a river where the town of Woburn gets their water supply. While watching this movie, I watched with astonishment and convinced with the determinations on the plaintiff's behalf to win the case. First, I thought the plaintiff's motive was to win the case for the money, but as the movie transitioned along I perceived that the families only wanted forgiveness from the companies. One of the mothers Mrs. Anderson stated, “Now, I want to be clear. I’m not interested in money, none of us are.
Before the jury decides a verdict, the last step in the trial process is the closing arguments. There were no closing arguments because the parties had to settle on nine million dollars. They did this because the plaintiff’s attorneys went bankrupt due to this case and they couldn’t afford to invest any more money into the case. Beatrice Foods ended up being not liable for the deaths of children so they were allowed to leave the case. Due to this, only W.R. Grace had to settle with the plaintiff. Later on in 1988, Jan Schlichtmann brought this case to the EPA’s attention and the EPA decided to bring lawsuits against the companies. W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods ended up having to pay for their huge mistake. They had to pay for the largest chemical cleanup in the Northeastern which cost sixty- four million dollars.
and Other Greats : Lessons from the All-star Writer's Workshop. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.
He says, "Frank Whitbread is a chemist who worked for a state environmental protection agency. Several times his boss had refused to allow him to testify before a state panel investigating the agency’s failure to test the well water of subdivisions located near sites where hazardous materials had been dumped. Eventually he called up a state senator and told him his story. Shortly thereafter Frank was fired. The state civil service commission made his agency take him back, but he was given no work to do and an office that was once a janitor’s closet." (Alfred, 2002, p.
Alex Wright, 27 years old geologist, was employed by Cotswold Geotechnical. He was investigating soil conditions in a deep trench when it collapsed and killed him. The case here was that Mr. Wright was working in a dangerous trench because the company failed at taking reasonable measures to protect Mr. Wright. The jury found that the company’s was of work in digging trial pits was unnecessarily dangerous. Moreover, the company ignored the industry guideline that prohibits entry into excavations deeper than 1.2 meters. The company was fined £385,000 which was to be paid over a period of 10 years. This heavy fine, representing 250% of its turnover, ended the business. (The Telegraph,