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A Civil Action (1998) Movie Information

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A Civil Action (1998)
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Steven Zaillian


John Travolta
Robert Duvall
Tony Shalhoub
William H. Macy
John Lithgow
Kathleen Quinlan





Plot Outline:

Jan Schlichtmann is a successful lawyer who likes to make lots of money. He was named one of the top bachelors in Boston. He has a nice expensive car, a nice house, and a good paying job. Jan is also the founder of a law firm that he runs with his partners, all in a case's settlement. Jan is considered an “ambulance chaser” or someone who goes after people who were in accidents. In the opening scene he settled for a lot of money for his client. Jan is more interested in making money over helping his client. However, when a women calls to see weather or not he got her case he would never know it would change his life. The woman lives in a suburb outside of Boston. There, some families are concerned and upset after some of their children died to what they believe was due to the drinking water. Immediately Jan does not think they have a case, after they say they just want an apology from whoever caused the death of their children. Driving back to his office Jan finds a major factory for major companies including Beatrice and Grace. Together they make over 634 million dollars, and Jan finds that this case would make him richer, especially after he sees them dumping into a stream. Both Grace and Beatrice deny the fact that they were dumping chemicals into the stream. However Beatrice said that money would never compensate for the deaths and also blamed Grace for the dumping and therefore was let go. Grace offered 8 million dollars and Jan settled. Each of the families received 375 thousand dollars, but they were still upset because no one apologized, which is what they wanted. Having no more money after spending it all on the case for research Jan could no longer pay to appeal the case. Also there is too much off a risk when only 5 out of 50 cases will win in appeals court. Jan sends all the information that he was able to gather and forwarded the case to the EPA. Then in 1990 the two companies were back in court but this time they lost without settlement and were forced to clean up the area were they did the dumping which ran them a bill of over 69 million dollars. The large sum that had to be paid forced them to shut down the plants.

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Allison 12/22/2007 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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John Travolta as a lawyer?!?! HAHA, funniest thing ever.

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