Environmental Law


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Write a paper based on the movie ?A Civil Action? starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall. ?A Civil Action? chronicles the water contamination case in Woburn, Massachusetts in the early 1980?s answer the following questions in you paper. Use only the following as source. “Essentials of the Leagal Environment” by Roger Leroy Miller. Chapter 17
Questions
1.The citizens of Woburn were critical in identifying the problem with the drinking water and were the reason why the lawsuit was filed. In that lawsuit – a civil action for negligence ? the plaintiffs were seeking money damages and clean-up of the Woburn site. Why was a private civil action the best recourse for the plaintiffs in the early 1980s? What key scene in the movie revealed the frustration of plaintiffs in trying to force clean-up of contaminated sites and how did the clean-up issue impact the case?
2.At the end of the movie, Mrs. Anderson reads the paper and sees that the EPA is cleaning up the site. At that point, what federal law was being utilized more effectively to address clean-ups such as the one at the Woburn site? What entities in the movie will be held responsible for the clean-up of the Woburn site and why are they responsible for the clean-up? What are these entities called under the federal law identified above?
3.In addition to negligence, what other civil causes of action could the plaintiffs have brought and what elements would need to be proven in order to succeed on those causes of action?
4.In the case, Judge Skinner ruled that the case must be split into several parts. First, the plaintiffs must show that the contaminants released by the defendants reached the wells such that the water was contaminated by them. If that was not proven, the defendant was found not liable. If a defendant was liable, the trial would continue on the health effects of the contamination on the citizens and their damages. What was the impact of Judge Skinner?s ruling on the plaintiffs in trying to secure a large verdict against the defendants? (i.e. how did this ruling hurt the plaintiffs?)
5.Describe what impacted you most about this movie. Why did it impact you?



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