January 1, 1999 |
The Movie: "A Civil Action." The Costume Designer: Shay Cunliffe, whose credits include "City of Angels," "Lone Star," "Multiplicity," "Mrs. Soffel" and the television series "Fallen Angels." The Setup: True story of Jan Schlichtmann (John Travolta), a personal injury lawyer in Boston who takes on a daunting environmental lawsuit against two mighty corporations. One of his toughest opponents is attorney Jerome Facher (Robert Duvall).
December 25, 1998 |
"A Civil Action" comes close, achingly close, to greatness. Finely cast, classically shot, written and directed with sureness and skill and based on a book compelling enough to stay on bestseller lists for two years, it's a story told so confidently and well that it seems fated to succeed. But as proficient a job as writer-director Steve Zaillian and his team do, "A Civil Action" has unmistakably unraveled by its close.
December 29, 1998 |
The elusiveness of truth is an idea woven throughout the movie "A Civil Action," which chronicles the real-life legal battle waged by eight Boston-area families against two corporations they held responsible for their children's deaths. Robert Duvall, who plays a lawyer for one of the accused companies, insists that truth can only be found "at the bottom of a bottomless pit."
July 26, 2004 |
Before John Edwards launched his run for the vice presidency, the Bush campaign said it was itching to run against a trial lawyer. "Bring on the ambulance chaser," then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer beckoned. Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney was on the stump in Ohio blaming rising healthcare costs on "runaway litigation" and backing a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards, a tort reform proposal that the Kerry-Edwards ticket opposes.
November 8, 1998 |
Jan Schlichtmann is a high-living Boston personal injury lawyer who takes on the case of his life: Civil Action #84-1672-S, representing the families of eight children who died of leukemia caused by exposure to toxic waste allegedly produced by two giant corporations--W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods. The story of his relentless legal battle is recounted in "A Civil Action," written and directed by Steven Zaillian, who adapted the movie from Jonathan Harr's 1995 bestseller of the same name.
September 24, 1995 |
Among journalists, lawyers and epidemiologists there exists a subspecies known as "cluster busters," practitioners of each trade who appear inexorably at the first sign of a cluster, the slightest rise above normal incidence of a disease or birth defect. The challenge of cluster busting sounds deceptively simple: First prove that there is a cluster (or epidemic), then determine what caused it. The epidemiologist's task is to prove the first; the lawyer, the second, and the journalist, both.