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.
October 17, 1995 |
Meet Jan Schlichtmann, personal-injury lawyer on the brink of self-destruction. It is July, 1986, and Schlichtmann's black Porsche 928 has just been repossessed. His luxury condo, with a view of the Charles River, is about to be foreclosed, his office furniture removed for non-payment of rental fees. Nor has he paid the salaries of his loyal staff in months, nor the cleaning bills for his hand-tailored Dimitri suits and silk Hermes ties, now held hostage by the dry cleaner.
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.