This book was already too long and detailed without side-stories that don't go anywhere. But A Civil Action steers pretty much clear of this. You really have to be able to disconnect and balance, or else a case can eat you alive. Jan decides to go forward against two giant corporations real-life companies and with links to the tanneries, thinking that the case could possibly earn him millions, as well as enhancing him and his firm's already considerable reputation. The ensuing protracted legal battle was very frustrating, nail-biting, dramatic, suspenseful, and engaging. My heart ached for the people who lost children and family members due to drinking water with toxic chemicals. It led to the deaths of children who became sick with cancer after exposure to said pollution.
I wish the outcome were better, I wish the system caught the errors and corrected them, I believe it's a good system, but I was pretty depressed after finishing this tale. Essentially, he's gambling with the firm's money every time he accepts a case. I just don't buy that the defendants were the monsters the author makes them out to be. My students were very frustrated by the ending. Really sheds light on the adverse effects of litigation on plaintiffs' attorneys as opposed to Class Action, which sheds light on the adverse effects of litigation on plainitffs.
A Civil Action, the book--despite its length and scrupulous detail--reads like a gripping novel. Harr was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. However, when he discovers that the small Woburn operations are subsidiaries of Grace and Beatrice, he begins to pursue the case with a vengeance. Residents complain about the smell and taste of the water and are continually told that there is nothing wrong. A Civil Action Plot Overview Jonathan Harrs A Civil Action is a nonfiction account of the legal case between several families in Woburn, Massachusetts, and two corporations, Beatrice Foods and W. But the movie takes fictional liberties, which have been much discussed in the financial press. Even someone who has not read the book can sense from the beginning of the film where and how all the main players in the film will fit into the story, and what their fates will be.
Themes of justice, bureaucracy, obsessiveness, and greed emerge in A Civil Action. An inside look at the case that made Jan Schlictmann famous: unscrupulous corporations poisoning the ground water supply, causing deaths and illness in the local community, and working to cover it up. More importantly, corporations are not the only ones responsible for environmental harm. Because he is nearly bankrupt and doesn't have the stomach to fight the tannery's lawyers again, Jan forwards all of the case files to the Environmental Protection Agency. His tannery was torn down in 1990.
Ambrose Bierce I read this book early in my legal career, probably 20 years ago. Tha It is easy to miss the lesson of this very interesting book. I kept reading, expecting the victims to be vindicated as evidence as to criminal negligence keeps piling up. Grace, a tannery owned by Beatrice Foods and a factory run by the Unifirst company were eventually cited years later by the Environmental Protection Agency as the cause of the contamination. The Woburn case ended with Beatrice Foods being dropped from the case and W. The book is better than the movie. Grace and the other by Beatrice Foods, might have been the culprits.
It's an eye opening account to the flaws in our legal system, especially the autonomy afforded to our courts - they see This book is a tremendous read. One in a 50,000 might be able to go all the way successfully. The message Harr sends is that those who fight for ethical causes such as justice or environmental protection may win, as Schlictmann did, in the short term, but they will never win in the long-term. The townspeople are also unhappy with Jan, because the settlement does not include an apology nor the promise to clean up the mess. It is nearly impossible for anyone but the lawyers and the judge to keep up with all of the facts, expert testimony, and tens of thousands of pages of documents, and eventually, even they despair at the limits of their own abilities. But children are diagnosed with leukemia and start dying.
The men are daring, or foolhardy, but they are so convinced of their position that they cannot be objective about the risks. It took Jan Schlichtmann several years to settle his debts, but only one year to fall off Boston's Ten Most Eligible Bachelors list. It works as a natural filter in many respects though. It's not very often that I read into the wee hours of the morning to finish a book, but this one grabbed and held me through and through. They made this pronouncement in spite of the release in January 1981 of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Public Health showing that the leukemia rate in east Woburn was seven times the normal rate.
By contrast, Beatrice Foods and W. The experts must be hired early just to get past motions to throw the case out of court. The movie co-stars and as the leaders of two opposing legal teams. This book is about a mystery case of the sickness that is going around infecting people in Woburn. Find sources: — · · · · August 2012 The plotline has been greatly simplified from the book, e. Although a filmmaker is not obligated to remain one hundred percent true to the original when transferring a story from the written page to the screen, this is one instance where more of this might have been advisable. A Civil Action Overview Jonathan Harr writes the true story of an epic courtroom showdown about a water contamination case in Woburn, Massachusetts.
I liked the complex characters and detailed writing, and it's a good book to pass the time with. This is the true story of a nine year legal battle involving flamboyant, obsessed and ambitious lawyer, Jan Schlictmann, and two large corporations accused of exposing a cluster of mostly children to water contaminated by industrial pollution. He lacked the mental and material resources to do the job correctly. It must have been quite a labor considering the scope and duration of the case. But the lawyers of the leather company's mother company are not easy to get to, and soon Schlichtmann and his friends find themselves in a battle of mere survival. The movie doesn't even end with its courtroom scene, but has a wry aftermath. Notwithstanding and despite his inexperience, he was energetic and aggressive.
Jonathan Harr's novel 'A Civil Action' traces the course of a civil suit filed by one town member against a food company and a chemical plant. True, Schlictmann technically does score a victory by forcing a major legal settlement with Beatrice Foods and W. Harr takes a different approach, starting his story with the actual victims of the toxic pollution before moving on to focus on the legal details. Very thought provoking - I will have second thoughts about drinking tap water, but I'm sure experts will eventually find something wrong with bottled water too!!! The biggest problem with A Civil Action is that its ultimate lesson that taking an ethical stand against environmental problems is fruitless. The relationship between corporation and consumer is reciprocal and environmental degradation is never entirely unilateral.