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was a civil action a true story

by Jesus Heidenreich Published 1 year ago Updated 3 months ago
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'A Civil Action' is based on a true story of a court case about environmental pollution that took place in Woburn, Massachusetts in the 1970s. It was a tragic time, for the people who lost their loved ones.

Is the movie a civil action based on a true story?

The plot of "A Civil Action" is based on a true story of the successful personal injury "ambulance chaser" [Characters' words] lawyer, otherwise unfulfilled, secretly hoping for that one big case.

What is the book a civil action about?

A Civil Action is a non-fiction book by Jonathan Harr about a water contamination case in Woburn, Massachusetts, in the 1980s. The book became a best-seller and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction.

Is'a civil action'based on a true story?

A Civil Action, the fictionalized movie about the lawsuit she and seven other Woburn families brought against the three companies they believed had polluted their water, opens in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day; the national rollout is on January 8.

What is a civil action?

A Civil Action is a non-fiction book by Jonathan Harr about a water contamination case in Woburn, Massachusetts, in the 1980s.

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Where is Jan Schlichtmann now?

Jan Schlichtmann Joins ClassAction.com as Of Counsel Attorney.

Is A Civil Action accurate?

For many viewers I have spoken to, A Civil Action represents an honest, accurate description of a civil lawsuit.

What case is A Civil Action movie based on?

the Woburn caseBased on Jonathan Harr's painstakingly researched book about the Woburn case, "A Civil Action" introduces us to Schlichtmann (John Travolta) as a slick Boston attorney who is very good at one thing and one thing only: forcing companies with deep pockets to settle for big bucks by dangling a plaintiff in a wheelchair – ...

Who won the case in A Civil Action?

After a lengthy trial, the case is dismissed in favor of Beatrice, after Jan turned down an offer of $20 million from Beatrice attorney Jerry Facher during jury deliberations.

What was Mr Schlichtmann forced to file?

11. What was Mr. Schlichtmann forced to file? He was forced to file bankruptcy.

How long did the Woburn case last?

In complicated lawsuits, it is not uncommon for the legal process to span several years from submission of the original complaint to completion of the trial. The lawsuit filed by the eight families in Woburn extended from 1979, past the trial held in 1986, through appeals that lasted into 1990.

Who were the whistleblowers in the movie A Civil Action?

4. The whistle blowers in this film were workers from the factories causimg al, the waters to become polluted, what led them to tell the truth was watching their kids and seeing how easyly they coild come down with this sickness as well.

Who was John Riley in A Civil Action?

Objecting to his portrayal in Jonathan Harr's best-selling book A Civil Action, an account of toxic tort litigation over contaminated well water in Woburn, Massachusetts, that allegedly caused the death of several children, John J. Riley, Jr., sued Harr and his publisher for defamation and related torts.

What is the story of civil action about?

In this legal thriller based on a true story, John Travolta stars as Jan Schlichtmann, a tenacious personal-injury attorney whose fierce determination entangles him in a case that threatens to destroy him. The case -- which appears straight forward -- instead evolves into a labyrinthine lawsuit of vast dimensions, in the intelligent, fast-paced drama, "A Civil Action."A Civil Action / Film synopsis

What happens if you win a civil suit?

When you "win" a civil case in court, the jury or judge may award you money damages. In some situations the losing party against whom there is a judgment (also known as a debtor), either refuses to follow the court order or cannot afford to pay the amount of the judgment.

Can you be found guilty in a civil case?

Civil law cases are filed by private parties, while criminal cases are usually filed by the government. The decision of the court in a criminal case is guilty or not guilty. In a civil court, it is liable or not liable.

Can you go to jail in a civil case?

A business or agency can also file a case in civil court or be sued in civil court. If someone loses a case in civil court, that person may be ordered to pay money to the other side or return property, but that person does not go to jail just for losing the case.

What is the purpose of civil action?

A civil action or suit starts when individuals or corporations disagree on a legal matter, such as the terms of a contract or the ownership of a piece of property. A civil suit can also result if someone is injured or property is damaged.

What is the basis of A Civil Action?

(a) A civil action is one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. A civil action may either be ordinary or special.

What would be considered a civil case?

Courts handle two types of disputes: civil and criminal. A civil case is a dispute between two citizens in which one person sues another.

What is the meaning of civil action?

A civil action is a noncriminal lawsuit that begins with a complaint and usually involves private parties. The plaintiff is the party filing the complaint, and the defendant is the party defending against the complaint's allegations.

What is the movie A Civil Action about?

Macy, Kathleen Quinlan, and Tony Shalhoub, it tells the true story of a court case about environmental pollution that took place in Woburn, Massachusetts in the 1980s. The film and court case revolve around the issue of trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent, and its contamination of a local aquifer. A lawsuit was filed over industrial operations that appeared to have caused fatal cases of leukemia and cancer, as well as a wide variety of other health problems, among the citizens of the city. The case involved is Anne Anderson, et al., v. Cryovac, Inc., et al.. The first reported decision in the case is at 96 F.R.D. 431 (denial of defendants' motion to dismiss). Duvall was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

Who said Civil Action is like John Grisham?

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 out of 4 and wrote: "Civil Action is like John Grisham for grownups."

What was the case in Anne Anderson v. Cryovac?

A lawsuit was filed over industrial operations that appeared to have caused fatal cases of leukemia and cancer, as well as a wide variety of other health problems, among the citizens of the city. The case involved is Anne Anderson, et al., v. Cryovac, Inc., et al..

Who was the attorney that turned down Jan's offer to be a lawyer?

After a lengthy trial, the case is dismissed in favor of Beatrice, after Jan turned down an offer of $20 million from Beatrice attorney Jerry Facher during jury deliberations.

What did the EPA do to Beatrice and Grace?

A postscript reveals that the EPA, building on Jan's work on the case, later brought its own enforcement action against Beatrice and Grace, forcing them to pay millions to clean up the land and the groundwater. It takes Jan several years to settle his debts, and he now practices environmental law in New Jersey .

How long is the free trial for Civil Action?

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this A Civil Action study guide. You'll get access to all of the A Civil Action content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

What is J Onathan Harr's Civil Action?

J onathan Harr’s A Civil Action tells the story of a legal case concerning several companies that contaminated the water supply in Woburn, MA, causing numerous cases of leukemia.

Who is the judge in the Beatrice Foods case?

Beatrice Foods hires a lawyer named Jerome Facher to defend them in the case, and W. R. Grace hires William Cheeseman. The judge for the case is Walter Jay Skinner. A third company, Unifirst, is discovered to have been responsible for a spill of TCE in Woburn; unlike Beatrice and Grace, this company settles quickly for a fine of $1,050,000.

Is Anderson v. Cryovac based on a true story?

Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action is based on the true story of the 1986 court case Anderson v. Cryovac, Inc., and the appeals that followed it. The book was published in 1995 and adapted into a movie in 1998. It follows the residents of Woburn, Massachusetts, and their lawyers as they accuse two companies—Beatrice Foods and W. R. Grace—of contaminating the town’s water and attempt to bring justice to the children of Woburn who have died from leukemia as a result of this contamination.

Why is the case against Grace so strong?

The plaintiffs' case against Grace is far stronger for two reasons: (1) Schlichtmann has personal testimony of a former employee of Grace who had witnessed dumping, and (2) a river between Beatrice's tannery and the contaminated wells makes Beatrice's contribution to the contamination less likely.

Why didn't Schlichtmann take the case?

Schlichtmann originally decides not to take the case due to both the lack of evidence and a clear defendant. Later picking up the case, Schlichtmann finds evidence suggesting trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination of the town's water supply by Riley Tannery, a subsidiary of Beatrice Foods; a chemical company, W. R. Grace; and another company named Unifirst .

How much did Schlichtmann settle for his family?

Schlichtmann disperses the settlement to the families, excluding expenses and attorney's fees (which resulted in approx. $375,000 per family). When some families think Schlichtmann had overbilled expenses, he acquiesces and surrenders more of his fee. Schlichtmann later files for bankruptcy after losing his condo and car; he lived in his office for a time. Schlichtmann eventually practices environmental, civil, and personal injury law.

What was the first decision in the Cryovac case?

Cryovac. The first reported decision in the case is at 96 F.R.D. 431 (denial of defendants' motion to dismiss). A 1998 film of the same name, starring John Travolta as plaintiff's lawyer Jan Schlichtmann and Robert Duvall as Beatrice Foods attorney Jerome Facher, was based on the book.

What is the name of the lawyer in Anne Anderson's book?

Eventually she gathers other families and seeks a lawyer, Jan Schlichtmann, to consider their options.

Does Schlichtmann practice civil law?

Schlichtmann eventually practices environmental, civil, and personal injury law. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency (which later filed its own lawsuits against the companies based on new evidence) concludes from sludge removed from the site that both companies had contaminated the wells.

What was Schlictmann's trial strategy?

Schlictmann’s trial strategy involved an expensive moonshot: Funding original cancer research to prove a causal link between pollutants dumped by the chemical companies and leukemia in neighborhood children. The likelihood of conclusive legal proof was deemed nil by medical experts. Still, Schlictmann pressed on, totally committed to finding a way to make it work, all the while wondering if it was even possible.

How much did Schlictmann's case cost?

He laid out for the directors his plan for preparing the case, and he estimated that it would cost at least three hundred thousand dollars, maybe as much as half a million if it went to trial.

Who was the attorney who sued Schlichtmann?

At the head of the table sat Ted Warshafsky, a Milwaukee lawyer who’d made his name suing drug companies. He was an excitable man in his late fifties, given to occasional explosive and profane outbursts. On the theory that a pet would have a calming effect, he had acquired a large boxer. The dog accompanied him everywhere. It took an instant dislike to Schlictmann. When Warshafsky heard half a million dollars, he flew into an apoplectic rage, his face crimson as he shouted at Schlictmann. Immediately the boxer’s ears went up. It leaped to its feet and put its paws on the table, a menacing eye on Schlictmann, who half rose from his chair, prepared to bolt from the room.

What does "putting the client first" mean?

In personal injury law, putting the client first means advising as to the most likely outcomes of each path--and being realistic about those potential outcomes. The goal must always be to do what’s best FOR THE CLIENT, not for the attorney, his firm, or anyone’s ego.

Why can't families testify in a civil action?

For example: In the movie, “A Civil Action”, families could not testify because the judge was not convinced that the affected families testimonies was enough to draw a verdict. On the other hand, a court of public opinion influences public support that is one-sided that heavily relies on the news media.

What does "taking a case to variety of courts" mean?

Ans. 1. Taking a case to variety of courts, unfortunately gives different results due to prejudice. Taking a case to legal court will give different outcomes than when taken to a court of public opini view the full answer

What is the movie Civil Action about?

A Civil Action is a film based on the true story of a group of families in a small town just north of Boston who sued major US companies in the early 1980s for leukemia deaths and other health problems caused by the dumping of poisonous chemicals that seeped into their community's water supply. It is also the story of Boston lawyer Jan Schlichtmann, the unlikely hero who took up their cause.

Did John Travolta portray Schlichtmann?

John Travolta has commented that he didn't attempt to portray the real Schlichtmann. He said of his performance, "To be honest, I've had enough lawyers in my life in the past 22 years that this was not a difficult thing.... I could see the ones that had the qualities I needed to portray Schlichtmann more than I'm going to find with Jan firsthand." But the problem with this is that this was not your average lawyer. This was someone who, in his own way, took a social issue to heart and took a stand. To bring him to life on screen would require an understanding of what made him different, not slotting him into the conventional lawyer's mold.

Was Schlichtmann's recklessness in the movie?

In a recent interview, the real Schlichtmann said that his arrogance and recklessness were accurately portrayed in the film, but that he would like to think his "superficial qualities were all superficial. They were part of a larger package, that of someone who was trying to do something right." It is far more likely that these vague notions of contributing to the betterment of society intersected in an unexpected way with the Woburn case, creating something bigger than his ego, something that he found difficult to ignore.

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Overview

A Civil Action is a 1998 American legal drama film written and directed by Steven Zaillian, based on the 1995 book of the same name by Jonathan Harr. Starring John Travolta, Robert Duvall, James Gandolfini, Dan Hedaya, John Lithgow, William H. Macy, Kathleen Quinlan, and Tony Shalhoub, it tells the true story of a court case about environmental pollution that took place in Woburn, Massachus…

Plot

Environmental toxicants in the city of Woburn, Massachusetts contaminate the area's water supply and become linked to a number of deaths of local children. Cocky Boston attorney Jan Schlichtmann and his small firm of personal injury lawyers are asked by Woburn resident Anne Anderson to take legal action against those responsible. After originally rejecting a seemingly unprofitable case, Jan finds a major environmental issue involving groundwater contamination tha…

Cast

• John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann
• Tony Shalhoub as Kevin Conway
• William H. Macy as James Gordon
• Željko Ivanek as Bill Crowley

Differences from the book

As with many such works, the plotline of the film has been simplified from the book, e.g. later findings by the Environmental Protection Agency and its potential consequences that might have allowed the plaintiffs another trial against Beatrice, and which did ultimately lead to a conviction of perjury against John Riley, and improper conduct for Mary Ryan, are referred to only briefly in the epilogue.

Release

Despite showing promise on its initial limited release, A Civil Action was a box office failure on wide release, earning a domestic gross of $56 million against its $75 million budget. The film was released in competition with a number of films that became hits, earning between $120 and $290 million each, including Shakespeare in Love, The Prince of Egypt, Star Trek: Insurrection, You've Got Mail, Stepmom and Patch Adams.

External links

• A Civil Action at IMDb
• A Civil Action at AllMovie
• A Civil Action at the TCM Movie Database
• A Civil Action at the American Film Institute Catalog

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