A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr

A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
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A Civil Action is a 1995 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. It was later made into a film of the same name starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall.

The case is based on a group of parents in Woburn who sued two companies (Grace and Beatrice) for contaminating their wells with trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser, which they alleged caused the deaths of their children from leukemia. The families were represented by attorney Jan Schlichtmann, who had previously represented plaintiffs in asbestos and toxic waste cases.

The case was initially dismissed by the judge, but after an appeal, it went to trial. After a lengthy and complex trial, which lasted over eight months, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $8 million in damages. However, the judge later overturned the verdict, and the families were not able to collect any money.

The book tells the story of the case from the perspective of both the lawyers and the families involved. It is a detailed account of the legal process, as well as an exploration of how toxic chemicals can affect people’s health. The book raises important questions about our legal system and the way we deal with environmental contamination.

The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on Human Health

The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on Human Health: A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr is a book that exposes the dangers of toxic chemicals and their impact on human health. The book centers around a legal case in which a group of families sued two companies for dumping toxic chemicals near their homes, resulting in serious health problems for many residents.

The case ultimately resulted in a large settlement for the plaintiffs, but the book highlights the larger issue of toxic chemicals and their dangers to human health.

The book discusses the various ways that toxic chemicals can enter the body, including through inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion. It also describes the potential health effects of exposure to these chemicals, which can range from minor problems like skin irritation to more serious issues like cancer. The book also discusses the difficulties of proving that exposure to toxic chemicals has caused health problems, as well as the challenges of cleaning up contaminated sites.

The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on Human Health: A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr is an important book that raises awareness of the dangers of toxic chemicals and their impact on human health. It is a must-read for anyone concerned about this issue.

How our legal system deals with environmental contamination

The United States has a complex legal system that deals with environmental contamination in a variety of ways. At the federal level, there are a number of statutes that govern different aspects of this issue, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Superfund law. These laws are designed to protect the environment and public health by setting standards for pollution and providing funds for cleanup efforts.

State governments also have their own laws and regulations dealing with environmental contamination. In some cases, these may be more stringent than the federal laws; in others, they may be more permissive. In either case, it is important to understand how your state’s laws apply to your particular situation.

If you believe that you have been harmed by environmental contamination, you may have a civil action against the responsible party. This means that you can sue the person or company responsible for the pollution in order to recover damages. In order to succeed in such a suit, however, you will need to prove that the pollution was the cause of your injuries. This can be a difficult task, and you will need to consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether or not you have a viable case.

Even if you are not harmed by environmental contamination, you may still be able to take action to help clean up the pollution. For instance, many states allow citizens to bring suit against polluters even if they have not been personally injured. This is known as a “citizen suit.” These suits can be an important tool in forcing companies to clean up their act and preventing future pollution.

If you are concerned about environmental contamination, it is important to understand your rights and options under the law. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your interests.


A Civil Action is a gripping story of one lawyer’s quest for justice against odds that seem insurmountable. Despite the many challenges faced by the plaintiff’s attorney, he persevered and ultimately achieved a measure of success for his clients. The book highlights the importance of fighting for what is right, even when the odds are against you.