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A Civil Action Essay, Research Paper

A Civil Action

A Civil Action is a story about a personal injury case involving the people of Woburn, Massachusetts. This book is based on a true story told from the plaintiff lawyer’s perspective. This book dramatizes a complex environmental trial in 1986 in Woburn, Massachusetts. This was a lawsuit against two corporate companies located in Woburn. The companies were accused of contaminating municipal water wells, which was thought to have contributed to a series of tragic deaths by a means that, to this day, science has not been able to identify or explain.

In the early 1980’s, a leukemia cluster was identified in the Massachusetts town of Woburn. Three companies, including W.R. Grace & Co., were accused of contaminating drinking water and causing illnesses. This tragedy had a great impact on the families of Woburn. Many people had gotten sick due to the long effects of using the contaminated water, which was believed to contain TCE, a harmful chemical that may have leaked into the water wells g and h.

Jan Shlichtmann was the plaintiff’s attorney who had put everything he had, including his reputation on the line for this case. Jan Shlichtmann was a smart and became a successful lawyer and managed to open up his own firm. Shlichtmann had been doing very well till he came across the Woburn case. This case was put aside for a while until Shlichtmann had decided he was going to risk everything on this case. Unfortunately, he lost the case after a long tough battle, after that he decided to stop practicing law. However, this was a true story and many people of Woburn had suffered due to the contaminated water. Many of the residents had died.

There are agencies, which regulate and control contamination caused by corporate companies. The EPA is one of those agencies. It stands for Environmental Protection Agency. This agency played a major role in the Woburn case. The EPA conducts studies, determines cleanup remedies and identifies parties liable under the statute for the release of hazardous substances. By law, EPA has the responsibility for determining what type of cleanup is appropriate for a contaminated site.

I believe this book represents a public policy issue, which is overlooked by corporate companies due to the costly expenses it can incur to follow the laws regarding contamination issues. I believe that corporations gain a lot of power, which can grant them the opportunity to do whatever they want. The reason to that is, once a company is fully established and financially healthy than they can take shortcuts to save some money by doing something illegal. The way they can get away with that is because they can hire excellent lawyers and can also influence a lot of people. I believe that the government must have a better way to monitor such illegal actions taken by corporations.

Companies should not be able to get away with such things. They should be penalized greatly for they’re damage. The latest movie that I had seen about corporate contamination was “Erin Brokovich.” This movie was similar to the Woburn case, the defending company was charged with a class action lawsuit by about 600 individuals, many of them who were extremely sick.

These people claimed that the company PCE&G had contaminated the water in their town. The company was found guilty and was required to pay around 350 million dollars in damages.

We can not let these things happen to us, we can’t let these company whose industrialization contaminates the backyard our children play in or the water we drink people must be more aware of things these days and must be able to take action if they are suspicious. May these cases and tragedies be a lesson to us, and may we learn from them.


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