An Analysis of A Civil Action
A Civil Action is a movie based on a real life case that took place several years ago. Several families of Woburn, a small town, were alleging that chemicals spilled by local plants had contaminated their drinking water. Reckless, careless dumping of chemicals at a tanning plant, they discovered, must have caused the chemical spill. This contamination, they believed, caused several children of the town to become sick with leukemia and eight of the children died; the leukemia was only found in the children because of their weak immune systems. Although the cause of leukemia was not known, the parents argued that there was a substantial amount of evidence supporting their assertion. The case was a very risky one to undertake; thus it was passed around by law firms and considered an "orphan" for lack of interest. Finally a mother of one of the victims of the chemical spill persuaded Jan to take an look at the case. Jan, a businessman, did not take much interest in it until he discovered that the owners of the plants in question were large corporations that produced a very large sum of money. Believing that this case never go to trial and that a settlement would be made, Jan saw undertaking the case as a financial gain. Therefore, Jan's law firm decided to present the case. However, as the trial went on, Jan began to show a change of heart. After the interrogation of several parents, Jan became truly sympathetic regarding the families' losses. Soon he found himself no longer in it for the money; he Macnair 2
wanted justice for the families of the victims. Unfortunately, his change for the good did not prove to benefit his case. Jan found himself turning down fair offers for a settlement, so that the issue would go to trial. This proved a hindrance to the case and the initial cause of its downfall.
There were several problems in proving that the children's illness was caused by chemical exposure. First and foremost,...
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