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Analysis of Jonathan Harr´s A Civil Action Essay

Decent Essays
Jonathan Harr wrote a compelling novel, called A Civil Action, on the actual events of a thrilling court case involving two major corporations and the families who were affected greatly. In Woburn, Massachusetts there were twenty-eight children who contracted acute lymphocytic leukemia between the years of 1964 and 1986. The explanation for the contraction of the disease and even the death of some of the children was discovered in the water; two municipal wells near the town were found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals. Eight families filed suit against W.R. Grace & Co. and Beatrice Foods Inc., accusing them for the contamination of the wells and the death of their children. The families only wanted an apology and the truth but when…show more content…
In a conversation with Schlichtmann, Facher stated, “the truth? I thought we were talking about a court of law. Come on, you've been around long enough to know that a courtroom isn't a place to look for the truth.” Facher also stated, “truth is found at the bottom of a bottomless pit." If truth is never found in court, it must’ve taken a lot of nerve to take on the Woburn case. Facher’s words provide proof that achieving victory is far more important than providing the facts and discovering truth, in his opinion. His actions and tactics indeed worked for him.
Furthermore, the chances of the plaintiff winning a civil court case are low. When it comes to it, a settlement is commonly agreed on before a verdict is even presented. Schlichtmann didn’t want the case and refused at first because he knew it was going to be tough. He explained his reasons for not wanting the case in his quote:
The odds of a plaintiff's lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. 12 times better. So why does anyone do it? They don't. They settle. Out of the 780,000, only 12,000 or 11/2 percent ever reach a verdict. The whole idea of lawsuits is to settle, to compel the other side to settle. And you do that by spending more money than you should, which forces them to spend more money than they should, and
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