A Civil Action entails a major class action suit brought forth by several families against major conglomerates (including W.R. Grace chemical company and Beatrice Foods) that were alleged to have negligently damaged the environment of a small town to the extent that its practices led to the spread of leukemia. Jan, a personal injury attorney, decides to represent a woman that claims that her child and other neighbors of a small town in Massachusetts have been diagnosed with leukemia. The lawyer finds evidence that there were some factors that could have led to the contamination of the town's water supply by the conglomerates’ factory. In the course of the lawsuit Jan gets other attorneys in his Boston law firm to assist him. Jan spends lavishly for experts, but the length of the discovery process and opposing counsels’ maneuvers stretch all his assets to the limit. Jan concentrates his efforts against the parent company (Grace) since they had personal testimony of a former employee of Grace who had witnessed dumping. The case against Beatrice Foods was dismissed and would then lead the firm to accept settlement from Grace for $8 million. Jan later files for bankruptcy, and the firm is dismantled. Jan then submits the case to the EPA after it concludes, in a report, that both companies had contaminated the wells from sludge removed from the site. Ultimately, due to the lawsuits brought forward by the EPA, Grace and Beatrice Foods are eventually forced to pay for one of the largest chemical clean ups in the history of the United States which cost about $64 million. Brief Analysis for Cause-in-Fact
The issue that arises in this plot is whether the conglomerates are negligent for the contamination of the water supplies of the town, and if their negligence contributed to the injuries (leukemia) of the multiple plaintiffs. After finding that there has been a breach of duty, one must consider if the defendant’s conduct was the cause-in-fact of the...
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