Defense side of the case
Free market ethics:
The two companies, Grace and J. Riley leather Co. Inc., were dumping the toxic waste on the nearby open ground for many years resulting in groundwater contamination. As the companies focused only on increasing the shareholder value by reducing the operational costs, they overlooked environmental health and safety regulations regarding toxic waste disposal. If companies would have followed the safe toxic waste disposal practices, it would have prevented tragic deaths of city residents, various illnesses, and groundwater contamination. We can see that safe practices would have saved millions in expensive lawsuits, clean-up charges, and punitive and reputational damages. Utilitarianism:
The companies should have done the cost-benefit analysis for all who would be affected by the decision of dumping the toxic waste on the open land. First, consider the consequence of dumping toxic waste to shareholders of the company, which is completely positive as it reduced the operational costs. The company did not envisage the water contamination or purposefully overlooked it in order to reduce the costs. Now, the consequence to other stakeholders such as city residents was mostly negative. Tragically, there were 12 deaths including 8 children and life threatening illnesses such as birth defects and miscarriages due to leukemia caused by the groundwater contamination. The defense lawyer (Thacher) proposes to settle with plaintiff’s lawyer (Schlichtmann) and states that the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t demand trial in this case. But, Schlichtmann refuses the offer because he believes that the victims deserve more compensation than offered for their sufferings. Deontology:
The companies’ behavior of dumping toxic waste in the open ground violates the deontology principle as they lied to the community about the waste disposal by not disclosing it. Thus, they deprived the residents of making the informed decision about the risks...
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