A Civil Action (1998) Script


JAN: It's like this.

A dead plaintiff is rarely worth as much as a living, severely-maimed plaintiff.

However, if it's a long, agonizing death, as opposed to a quick drowning or car wreck, the value can rise considerably.

A dead adult in his 20s is generally worth less than one who is middle-aged.

A dead woman less than a dead man.

A single adult less than one who's married.

Black less than white, poor less than rich.

But the perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 years old, at the height of his earning power, struck down on his prime

and the most imperfect?

Well, in the calculus of personal injury law, a dead child is worth the least of all.

EDDIE: A million dollars he turns down. One million dollars.

I don't believe that story for a second. It's true.

Come on! It's true. He turned down...

Hey, Eddie. Hey. How you doing?

Good. Do me a favor, will ya? Yeah.

Shut the fuck up. That's our banker over there keeping an eye on the collateral.

He doesn't know Jan turned down a million.

Oh, sorry. Sorry. Shh. Yeah.

Asshole.


How's your headrest? I want it up.

Up?

JAN: How's that? Okay? Okay.

Are you comfortable? Yeah. My button.

Oh, the button. Open? Open.

Here we go.

BAILIFF: All rise.

This court is now in session.

The honorable Constance Mullen presiding.

Would you like some water?

BAILIFF: Carney v. Massachusetts General Hospital.

Case number 81-27-25.

Attorneys, please state your appearance.

Randolph Woodside, Mass General.

Greg Monk, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Harout Beshlia, Mass General.

Jan Schlichtmann for Paul Carney.

Kevin Conway for Mr. Carney, Your Honor.

MULLEN: Mr. Schlichtmann, the court's ready for your opening statement.


Your Honor, if it please the court, the parties involved have agreed to a settlement.

ALL: Hey.

♪ Got a two-ton hammer

♪ Got meat by the pound

♪ I'm a hard work drivin' man

♪ Six foot solid from the ground

♪ Work my hammer from factory

♪ Farmin', always wanna fight

♪ Swallowed up some TV dinner

♪ Swing my hammer strong at night Personal injury law has a bad reputation.

They call us "ambulance chasers," "bottom feeders,"

"vultures who prey on the misfortunes of others."

Well, if that's true, why do I lie awake nights worrying about my clients?

Why does their pain become my pain?

I wish I could find some way not to empathize.

It'd be a lot easier.

♪ When I was a schoolboy

♪ Teacher said study hard as you can

♪ It didn't make no difference

♪ I'm just a hard work drivin' man ♪ RADIO SHOW HOST: You're speaking with Jan Schlichtmann, personal injury attorney, and, according to Boston Magazine...

Have you seen this? "One of Boston's 10 most eligible bachelors."

Senor.

RADIO SHOW HOST: Let's go back to the phones.

Woburn, you're on the air.

Hello, Mr. Schlichtmann, it's Anne Anderson.

Well, hello, Anne.

How are you? Very well. How are you? Sounds pretty.

Mmm-hmm. How come you never call me?

Well, believe me, if I had your number, I would call you.

You do have it. I do?

You have no idea who I am.

Is this Ricky? No.

See, my son died of leukemia two years ago, Mr. Schlichtmann.

Your firm is handling the case.

JAN: We, we are? ANNE: Uh-huh.

The reason I'm calling you here is because my calls to your offices have gone unreturned for the last several weeks now.

I'm sorry. What, what was your name? Uh, Anne.

Anne. Anne? Anderson.

Anne Anderson. I'm writing that down as we speak.

I'm gonna take care of this.

Hey, I have an idea.

Why don't you come up to Woburn one of these days and actually meet a few of those people whose pain is your pain?

Jan?

JAN: Let me try and picture how this happened.

She called you. She cried.

You felt sorry for her, and you cried.

And now she's mad at me. Now that makes sense. This is a good case.

She's not crying now. I can tell you that. An orphan, but a good one.

Twelve deaths over 15 years from leukemia. Eight of them children.

Is that unusual? Apparently, statistically.

CONWAY: It's a very small town. This woman lost a child?

They think it has something to do with the city's drinking water, which they say has always tasted funny.

What was she like before? I'd like to know that.

Do you wanna hear what it's about? No, I don't.

I'd, I'd like to hear about it.

Thank you, Kathy.

There's a report here from state inspectors that says that the water from two city wells is contaminated, or was before they shut them down, with something called...

I can't pronounce this.

Trichloroethyline?

Ethylene? Which the EPA lists as a probable carcinogen.

GORDON: No, no, no. Let me stop you right there. CONWAY: There's more.

I don't need to hear it. From a financial standpoint, I can tell you right now this is not a sound investment.

GORDON: "Probable" is just a euphemism for "unproven."

To prove something like this, you need new medical research.

Is that the business we're in, the medical research business?

And, and you have to ask yourself, why is this an orphan?

Why has it been kicked from firm to firm before it ended up on your desk?

JAN: Gordon's right.

I mean, I can appreciate the theatrical value of several dead kids.

I mean, I like that. Obviously, that's good.

But that's all this case has going for it.

That's not enough.

I'll get rid of it.

I'll, uh... I'll just go up there, and...

And then she'll start to cry again, and then you'll start to cry again.

And then she'll be mad at me again, so I'll do it. I... I'll get rid of it.

Give it to me.

Thank you.

Here you go, sir. Thank you.

Drive careful, now. Oh, yeah.

Whee!

ANNE: When I stand on my front porch, I can see all the houses where children have died.

These are the, the Kanes, the Toomeys, the Zonas, the Robbins and the Aufieros.

Now, I wanna be clear.

I'm not interested in money. None of us are.

That's not why we're doing this. What we want is to know what happened.

And we want an apology. From who?

From whoever did this.

I want somebody to come to my house, knock on the door and say, "We're responsible.

"We did this. We didn't mean it, but we did it and we're sorry."

But who is that?

Well, we don't know.

Mrs. Anderson.

Our firm is very small. Three attorneys. That's it.

Which means that we can only take on so many cases at once.

And we have to be very careful about the ones we do because, frankly, we can't afford to lose.

Our clients pay nothing. We pay everything.

And we only get paid back if we win or settle. I know that.

No. You want an apology.

And there's nothing more I'd like to do than to get you that apology, but from who?

Who is going to apologize to you and pay me?

There has to be a defendant, and one with very deep pockets.

This is not an inexpensive case to try.

Uh, there's an old tannery out there.

A tannery.

And some other small factories.

I really wish I could help you, but I can't.

I'm sorry.

Maybe you could go out there for just a few minutes.

To the river, to the wells and take a look.

For what? What would that... What would that accomplish?

I do hope you find someone, and I am sorry.

Thank you very much. Drive carefully.


Oh, God damn it!

Shoes.


MAN: All clear!

MAN: Last ones on the train!


JAN: It was fate.

I was meant to get that ticket at that moment.

At that exact spot in the road.

Do you know who Beatrice is?

Peter Pan peanut butter, Tropicana orange juice, Rosarita Mexican food, Swiss Miss cocoa, Samsonite luggage, Playtex bras, Culligan water.

The list goes on. And the other one?

JAN: W. R. Grace. Chemicals and manufacturing with plants in two dozen states, South America, Europe and Japan.

What's this? That's the ticket.

No. I've got the speeding ticket right here.

No, I got two speeding tickets.

Oh, it was a two-ticket town like that other place.

Exactly. You don't wanna take your Caddie there.

Kevin, this is a gold mine. You almost let it get away.

I almost let it get away.

JAN: Lawsuits are war. It's as simple as that.

And they begin the same way. With a declaration of war.

The complaint.

When you're a small firm and they're a big one, steeped in history and wealth like they always are with their Persian carpets on the floor and their Harvard diplomas hanging on the walls, it's easy to be intimidated.

Don't. That's what they want.

That's what they expect, like all bullies.

That's how they win.

I don't run away from bullies.


Mr. Facher?

Mr. Doyle asked me to bring this to you.

When?

When did he ask me?

Yeah. Just now.

On your lunch break?

That hardly seems fair.

I almost never go to lunch, sir. Too much to do. Oh.

I just grab something.

You know, if I were you, I'd make a point of taking that hour or so away from all the noise and insanity of this place.

I should do that. I'd find a place for myself where I could go that was relatively quiet and peaceful.

Have a sandwich, read a magazine.

Maybe listen to a game out at Fenway, if one was on.

Hmm? And I'd make sure everyone knew I didn't want to be disturbed during that hour or so of solitude.

Because that would be my time, my own private time, which no one, if they had any sense of self-preservation at all would dare interrupt.

If I were you.

I'm sorry. Oh, shh, shh.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: Oh, and strike one.

CHEESEMAN: Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus.

Mr. Facher, it's, uh, Bill Cheeseman.

Foley, Hoag and Eliot. Uh, we represent W. R. Grace.

How ya doing? Well, all right, I guess, under the circumstances.

Oh, what circumstances are those?

Uh, Woburn. These, uh, outrageous charges.

This bloodsucking ambulance chaser Schlichtmann.

FACHER: Who?

We're, we're codefendants in a lawsuit, Mr. Facher.

A very serious lawsuit. What?

Uh, what is that thumping?

Yeah, well, it's gone now.

It's... It was driving me crazy.

Uh, listen. I was wondering if I could talk to you about something.

Uh, do you think we could get together for a drink or a...

FACHER: Well, what's on your mind?

Well, uh, I'll tell you what I'm thinking.

Are you familiar with rule 11? With what?

Uh, rule 11. It's a civil provision designed to, uh, prevent frivolous and irresponsible lawsuits, like this one, and, uh, to sanction quite severely those who file them.

Uh-huh. Uh, Mr., uh, Cheeseman.

Cheese-Man, is it?

It's Cheeseman. Oh, it's Cheese-man. What is a fine?

When you get a fine, what do you do? You pay it and go about your business.

Uh, if you're gonna knock a guy down, do it so he can't get up again.

What are you looking for with this suit?

Well, obviously, we'll be seeking compensation for the families.

And punitive damages for the willful negligence of these two companies.

JAN: But is that what this is really all about... Money? ALL: No.

Is that what matters most to any of us? ALL: No.

It's about this.

And this.

And this.

Yeah. Mmm-hmm. Yeah.

JAN: Yeah, I know. We have no feelings.

No compassion. No empathy for our client's suffering.

Can I say something? What does that have to do with anything?

In fact, the lawyer who shares his client's pain, in my opinion, does his client such a grave disservice.

He should have his license to practice law taken away.

It clouds his judgment.

And that's as beneficial to his client as a doctor who recoils at the sight of blood.

BAILIFF: All rise.

This court is now in session.

The honorable Walter. J. Skinner presiding.

SKINNER: Is this the only case?

This is a lot of lawyers.

Sit down.

Mr. Facher.

Your Honor. You're looking well.

The Red Sox must be in first place.

Mmm, Roger Clemens is the answer to my prayers.

You have some interest in this case?

I'm a codefendant, so I guess I do have an interest, but it's not my motion.

It's Foley Hoag's. And that motion is?

Your Honor, if I might, my name is Jan Schlichtmann. I know. Sit down.

SKINNER: Now, the matter before us seems to be a simple one.

Your Honor, I'm sorry, but I don't think it is simple. May I hear it?

No. You see, the true intention of this motion is to try to place me under a cloud of impropriety in your courtroom, right from the beginning.

Really? Yes. What they're saying with this motion is that they know the law and I don't.

What they're saying is that they're real lawyers and I'm not.

They're just trying to humiliate me.

Mr. Schlichtmann, you are a personal injury lawyer, are you not?

I think you'll survive that.

You see, it's starting already. No, you've started already.

No, I'm on the defensive already, and they're the defendants.

Mr. Schlichtmann, I... Do you think I might at least hear this motion before you explain to me what it's really about?

Of course. Thank you.

SKINNER: Now,

Mr., uh, Cheese-Man, is it?

Cheeseman. Cheeseman.

Your motion to dismiss is based on? Uh, rule 11, Your Honor.

Uh, specifically on the fact that, uh, Mr. Schlichtmann...

... had absolutely no evidential grounds on which to bring this suit, only his knowledge that my client, uh, the W. R. Grace corporation has a lot of money.

Not true. CHEESEMAN: Uh, he performed no real investigation, he did no research of any consequence, uh, except perhaps to review profit statements, and, uh, he's prepared his complaint so inexpertly as to render it moot.

All untrue. Do you know what rule 11 is, Mr. Schlichtmann?

Well, to be honest with you, Your Honor, I, uh, I had to look it up.

SKINNER: I'll be honest too. So did I.

Do you know why, Mr. Cheeseman?

Because it is so old and ambiguous, few lawyers waste their time with it, or mine.

It's a non-issue, Mr. Cheeseman.

Your motion is denied. Thank you.

ALL: Thank you. Thank you.

SKINNER: Anything else? CHEESEMAN: No, Your Honor.

SKINNER: Set a trial date.

Excuse me, Mr. Facher.

I'd like to thank you. That was very statesmanlike of you not to join in that ridiculous attack.

Oh.

You're welcome.

MAN: Well, what we have to do is show how the toxic solvent from these two factories dumped on the land there migrated underground and were drawn into city wells here and well h over there.

And was then pumped into the homes of east Woburn. Right.

And to do that is quite simple, really. I'll need to inspect the land, map out the location of debris, drill some monitoring wells, conduct seismic tests and so on.

Right.

And you're talking about you and a couple of assistants or something.

No. No, I mean a team of geologists and engineers.

A team. Mmm. A big team.

You see, it's actually quite exciting because the nature of the contour here means that there's an effect which is named after me, as a matter of fact, uh, where the, the flow of the aquifer goes against the gravitational pull.

JAN: Working in the Grace paint shop, Mr. Barbas, I'd imagine you'd use paint thinners and solvents. Uh-huh.

To clean your brushes and things. Uh-huh.

I wonder what you would have done with that stuff, say back in the 1970s, early '80s.

Used solvent? Yeah.

Put it in drums. Fifty-five-gallon drums.

Uh-huh. And, uh, what would you do with those drums when they were filled up?

Don't know. They were just gone.

Never noticed. You never dumped them out back?

No. Never did anything like that.

No. Never, never noticed anyone who did.

No. Hmm. Just disappeared.

What were your duties at Grace back then, Mr. Shalline?

Receive disposal and discharge to the drains.

Be sure we weren't polluting the air and things of that nature.

Well, then you must know then that over the years certain chemicals were deposited on the ground in back of the plant.

SHALLINE: I don't know that.

JAN: Six barrels of toxic waste, Mr. Shalline, were found out in back of the plant in a pit and exhumed by city inspectors.

You never heard anything about this? Nope.

JAN: Back then in 1965 or thereafter, did you clean metal parts with any type of solvent?

Yes. What kind?

That I couldn't tell you. Did you ever notice, uh, the, uh, name trichloroethylene or TCE?

Nah. I don't know. But you'd put it in barrels when you were done with it.

That seems to be the process, right?

Yes. Did you ever see what happened to these barrels of solvent when you were through with them?

Yes.

What was that?

They get dumped.

Hmm. Where?

Out back, in the ground. You saw this?

Yes. JAN: When?

Um, my coffee break. I, uh, loved to go out and hit nine iron shots with golf balls.

Do you wanna take a little break?

JAN: Do you... Do you need a break? No.

Did you see who was out there, um, dumping the stuff when you were hitting your golf balls?

What do you mean?

The names of the people.

He wants to tell us.

He's not gonna tell us. He has to work there.

JAN: He has to work there, but he lives across the street from Anne Anderson.

He has to see her every day.


Mr. Love, do you have any children?

Yes, I do.

Eight of 'em. Eight?

My goodness! That's quite a family.

What do you think of the water in Woburn?

Now? It's all right.

What about then? Ten, 15 years ago?

Had an odor then. Hmm.

Chlorine or somethin'.

Did you drink it? Yeah, I drank it.

Your kids?

Yes.

Were you concerned when you found out the wells were contaminated?

I'm going to object to that. You don't, you don't have to answer that.

Yeah, I was concerned.

JAN: For your family's health? Yes.

Has any member of your family had any illness out of the ordinary?

You don't have to answer any of these type of questions.

Yeah, they have. What kind?

LOVE: One of my sons has a seizure disorder.

And, uh, my oldest daughter's had two miscarriages and my youngest boy was born with...

Are we gonna sit here all day and go through his entire family's medical history?

Well, if you don't wanna hear it, then leave.

I don't know what you're doing here anyway. We're deposing Grace employees, not Beatrice.

LAWYER: If you're deposing anybody, anybody, I have a right to be here.

JAN: Well, then sit down and shut up!

Mr. Love, are you aware that some of your neighbors have had leukemia in their families?

Yes, I am.

They think it's the water.

Al, that water hasn't made anybody sick.

How do you know?

I just do.

There's a lot of people in my neighborhood that are dead, or dyin', Mr. Chessman, from somethin'.

Look, if I, uh...

If I took 100 pennies and threw 'em up in the air, about half of 'em would land heads and the other half tails, right?

Now if I looked around closely, I'd probably find some heads grouped together in a cluster. What does that mean? Does that mean anything?

See, no one knows what causes leukemia, Al.

No one knows what caused that cluster.

I know what happened.

And I know who did it.

Um, Al, this is, uh, this is very important, uh...

I want you to tell me who those people are.

I'm not a rat.

You know, it's, uh, it's important because, uh, if there is something wrong out there, we need, we need to disclose it to the proper authorities.

We need to get 'em out there and have it cleaned up.

You, uh, you think about that and, and call me if y...

Yeah. Yeah.

Thank you. You're welcome.

Do you eat peanut butter?

No.

You've never eaten peanut butter?

I guess everyone alive has probably tried it, but I'm not exactly what you'd call a peanut butter fan.

What about your son? Did he ever eat peanut butter?

FACHER: Do you eat bacon? Yes.

Yes. How often? How many slices?

Um...

Do you have Teflon pans in your kitchen?

Do you chew sugarless gum?

Do you pump your own gas?

Do you use hair spray?

Do you use artificial sweeteners? Smoke cigarettes?

Drink diet soda? Do you use tampons?

Do you ever have your clothes dry-cleaned?

Do you have silver fillings in your teeth?

So you were aware when you moved to Woburn that its water didn't taste so good.

Yeah, but, a lot of places the water doesn't taste so good.

FACHER: I agree with that.

Did you ever consider using bottled water?

We use bottled water, uh, off and on.

Split half and half.

Like, uh, we, uh, cooked with regular water, tap water.

And we did other things like, uh, make orange juice.

But to, uh, drink just straight water, we drank bottled water.

Has any doctor ever told you that you've had any dysfunction of your immune system? No, but, uh, when my son died, they told us that that was why he died.

His, uh, immune system was tore down to nothin'.

Uh, why did you have an autopsy?

Because he, he was doin' good.

He only, uh, lived three months with leukemia, and, uh, he looked fine.

Did you talk to the doctor about this?

Yeah, I had more like a, uh, violent talk with him.

Violent. you mean, you were angry.

Yellin' at him.

Your son seemed to be doing all right. He, he was in remission.

You were optimistic about his future and suddenly he became ill and died.

And they said that was expected.

That, uh, anybody with a disease like leukemia could die any minute.

But you were angry and upset.

My son just died.

I understand. I'm just trying to, to recreate the event.

You can tell when your child isn't feeling well.

You, uh, you try to explain it to them on the phone, and they say, uh, "Has he got a temperature?"

You say no. "He's all right then," they say.

"Don't worry. Bring him into the clinic Monday morning."

He died Monday morning.

He was in the clinic when he died.

No.

He was in the car. On the way.

He died in the car on the way to the clinic?

He died on I-93, out by the Somerville exit.

My wife was yellin' that he'd stopped breathing.

I pulled over and, and tried to give him CPR.

I wa... I was holdin' him in my lap.

Lauren was screamin'.

Cars and trucks rushin' by.

And, uh...

Jarrod...

I'm sorry.

It's all right.

JAN: It's okay.

LAUREN: How did it go? AUFIERO: We'll talk about it in the car.

He did very well.

These people can never testify.

Nope.


I guess we'll have the first seven monitor wells in this kind of area.

Right. There's permeable rock here.

All right. The seven?

Yes, I did say initially there would only be seven.

I think now it's more likely we're gonna have probably 12.

Hey! Hey! Because of the tree cover.

Private property! Yes, this is your property.

Yeah, it's my property, and you're trespassing.

Here you go. What the fuck is this?

That's a court order, Mr. Riley.

Which means that I have a right to be here on your land and to inspect every inch of your tannery as well.

No, no. You keep that. That's your copy.

Let's go.

I started working when I was seven years old, sweeping the beam house floors for my father, which he swept for his father when he was seven years old, which my boys Timmy and Johnny swept...

I know. They swept it too. Pease answer the question I asked, not one I didn't.

Silicone, Mr. Riley, and trichloroethylene.

These two chemicals mixed together are used to waterproof leather, are they not?

I asked you a question, Mr. Riley, again.

JAN: Mr. Facher, please inform your client that he's obligated to answer my question.

Let the record show that the witness has emptied a glass of water on my conference table.

What exactly do you intend to say to me, Mr. Riley, by pouring a glass of water on my table?

This is how silicone is put on leather to waterproof it.

I'm answering your question.

It's poured on like...

You poured water on my table.

Yeah. Correct.

So then some of it must spill off the leather like the water spilling off my table.

And onto my rug.

That's the part I'm interested in.

The spilled silicone and trichloroethylene, sir.

How you disposed of that.

RILEY: I never once used TCE. JAN: TCE?

Did I say TCE?

I didn't say TCE.

I said trichloroethylene.

You said TCE, as it is commonly known to those who know it.

Mr. Riley, you wouldn't mind if I checked your statements today against your office records, would you?

Your, um, invoices, purchase orders and formulas, huh?

No. Be my guest.

They go back, um, three years.

Everything before that, we dumped.

MAN: Jan, you're not listening.

I am listening. It's just you've been out there three times and nothin'.

I know why you find this unacceptable.

It's just you don't know what it's like out there.

Riley is Woburn. He's been there forever.

His employees are like loyal subjects. None of them will talk.

Ex-employees. That's who you should be talking to. Disgruntled employees.

Disloyal subjects. They talk.

So you want me to go back out there. All ready.

This is the case against Beatrice... This liar.

You go back out there, and you catch him in a lie.

You got the rest of the medical records? Almost.

I can't get complete records on... I don't care. Just get it.

Jan. Jan! Just get it. I don't wanna hear about it.

Well, this figure here... This $100 an hour for Dr. Cohen.

That seems more than fair considering his preeminence.

That's for his nights in the hotel, Jan.

That's his discount sleeping rate.

Oh.

GORDON: Your doctors have cost us more than 900,000 so far.

Well, they're worth it. Your geologists have cost more than 500,000.

Well, they're worth it. That's not the point.

The point is, everybody in the firm's working only on this case.

That means we have no money coming in, just going out. So what?

What, you wanna cut our losses now? Is that what you wanna do, Gordon?

You wanna just get out now and, and, and throw away 900 and... What is it?

$1.4 million.

Good night.

Well, I don't know what to tell you because there's certain things I gotta prove, and I can't do that not spending money.

We have to go see Uncle Pete.

So, Gordon, where are we on the loan I gave you last... Spent it.

You spent it? How much of it?

All of it. All of it.

Hmm. Well, what about the Carney settlement? How much of that...

Spent it.

On?

Woburn. We spend everything on Woburn now.

On Woburn. Huh.

So what do you think you're gonna need to tide you over here?

Oh, two, three hundred? Six hundred thousand.

Six hundred thousand? Yeah.

JAN: Pete, when was the last time you lost money betting on me?

Never. I'm probably the best investment your bank ever made.

Yeah.


LOVE: I, I don't wanna know what it's made of.

Can you pass... Can you pass the mashed potatoes?

Can you pass me the mashed potatoes, please?

BOY: How do vampires get around on Halloween?

EVELYN: How? BOY: Blood vessels.

EVELYN: Oh.


Let's go.

Bye, Dad. Bye.

See you later. Bye-bye.

Love ya.


I thought about comin' to see ya for a long time.

I guess I was afraid to 'cause I didn't think you'd want to talk to me 'cause where I work and everything.

I'm concerned about what's been happenin' around here, and I'm angry at the company for the way it's handling itself.

I'm very sorry about your son.

Thank you.

JAN: He said he never dumped anything out back.

He never did anything like that. Never saw anybody who did.

LOVE: Tommy Barbas didn't tell you the truth.

Neither did Paul Shalline. Tommy, Paul and Joey were out back all the time with their buckets and barrels. Joey who?

Joey Meola, plant maintenance.

And the rumor is, there's 50 more of those barrels buried under this new building here that the city inspectors didn't find.

Fifty? Or more.

Here.

Okay. Is there anyone else at the plant that might talk to me?

I don't think so.

Bobby Pasqueriella.

Bobby? He might.

He doesn't work there anymore, though. Could you call him?

PASQUERIELLA: Yeah, I threw stuff back there.

Yeah. All the time. JAN: Mmm-hmm.

Threw it back there myself. All the time, back there.

Yeah. Eddie Orazine.

He'd say, "Go ahead and dump that stuff out in the gully." Mmm-hmm.

Out there in the gully there, you know? Back there in the gully.

Dump the... Back there in the gully right there.

Washed down the belts with it and gear boxes and swished it around.

And throw it out there in the gully. That's what he said. "Dump it out there like Joey."

JAN: How about Tom Barbas? Did he? Tommy?

No, not Tommy. No.

No? Never did anything like that? No, no.

He dumped his in a ditch.

Okay.

Good morning, Mr. Barbas. Nice to see you again.

I understand that you've had a chance to think about things since your first deposition.

He says that you said he should just pour it into the pit.

Is that how you remember it, now that your memory's been refreshed?

Vinnie said go out there and dig a trench, oh, 20, 30 feet long.

And load the barrels onto the truck, drive it out there, dump it into the swimming pool.

That's what we called it... A swim... Swimming pool.

Right.

Mr. Cheeseman, well done.

JAN: 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.

Twelve times better.

So why does anyone do it?

They don't. They settle.

Out of the 780,000 cases filed each year, only 12,000, or 1.5%, 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 whoever comes to their senses first, loses.

Trials are a corruption of the entire process, and only fools with something to prove end up ensnared in them.

Now when I say "prove"...

...I don't mean about the case. Look who's here.

I mean about themselves.

WORKER: Hey, old man, out of the way!

FACHER: How's business, by the way? JAN: Business is good.

Is it? That's good. I was afraid, what, with all these scientists and doctors and what not, a small boutique firm like yours might be in financial trouble.

I appreciate your concern, Jerry. We've got more than enough to go the distance.

Are you sure? I mean, I'd hate it if one day you realize you miscalculated the arithmetic and there you were digging quarters out of the seats of your shiny black sports car...

You really don't have to worry, Jerry. Well, that's a relief.

Yeah.

You know what? You don't want me in this case.

You've got Grace, and one deep pocket is enough.

I'm only gonna hurt you, so get rid of me.

Tell me what you've got in so far, I'll have a check cut, we can get on with our lives.

What do you say?

My expenses.

You... You're offering to cover my expenses.

Your expenses and your pride.

You think you're gonna put those families on the stand.

Your mothers and your fathers are gonna tell their stories.

And the jury's gonna pull out their handkerchiefs and dab their eyes?

Do you really think I'd let that happen?

I don't see how you can prevent it.

Of course you don't.

Yeah? GORDON: Jan, guess what?

Cheeseman called. He wants to talk.

He wants a number. He wants out. I'll get everything together.

I'll meet you back here at the office. Okay.

Jan, this is it. We got him.

That's great.


Get out of here! Oh, my baby!

No!

No!

No!


He said he'd be here.

Are the Red Sox in town?

Sorry I'm late. I got tied up.

Yeah. Oh.

I was just given a chair at Harvard, of, of all things.

Oh, you're kidding. Which chair?

Oh, well, it's, it's black with arms, with my name on a brass plate on the back.

From my students.

Jerry.

Ever thought about getting yourself a new briefcase?

No, no. You don't change your socks in the middle of the world series, Jan.

Am I sitting in the right place?

Well, actually, we have a seat for you here, but that's, that's fine.

Oh.

Okay.

This is a nice pen.

JAN: They're courtesy of the hotel.

Really? This is a good quality pen.

JAN: Oh, yeah.

So...

So, Bill.

How much did Grace make last year?

I have no idea.

CHEESEMAN: But I have a feeling that you do. JAN: $198 million.

And Beatrice, Jerry? Hmm. What?

$436 million.

Together, that's $634 million.

That's one year. That's net.

So that's what they made.

Now what should they be made to pay, to compensate the families, to provide for their economic security in the future?

CHEESEMAN: Don't forget to mention you.

Compensating you.

And to make sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

$25 million, cash.

And another $25 million to establish a research foundation to study the links between hazardous waste and illness.

And $1.5 million per family annually for 30 years.


$320 million FACHER: Uh...

Can I ask a question?

Well, I'm sure everyone has questions. What's yours, Jerry?

Can I have this?

Thank you.

Excuse me.


Jan?

Yes, Gordon.

What's the story?

Well, I guess they just don't want to end this thing.

They don't want...

You said this would never go to trial.

You just made certain that it will.

Without consulting us, I might add.

They patronize us.

They think we're blackmailers.

They think they can buy us.

Yeah?

We can't afford a long, drawn-out trial.

Well, you're gonna have to find a way of getting some money then.

GORDON: What do you suggest?

Am I the financial advisor around here?

Thanks, sir.

GORDON: No, you're not.

JAN: This is the plan.

We start with the scientific evidence and then the medical experts and their evidence, then the parents, and then your testimony.

Now, your presence is very important in the courtroom.

This is where the jury gets to know you.

Well, if you're there some days and not other days, they say, "Well, why wasn't she there?" and "Does she really care?"

And this kind of thing.

I'll be there every day.

In the back left-hand corner.

Well, wherever you're most comfortable.

See that was our plan.

If we ever got separated in the grocery store or the...

Or the department store, that's where we'd meet.

Oh, I see. I see.

Well, in the end, when he was dying, he said, "I'll meet you in the back left-hand corner of heaven."

BAILIFF: All rise.

The court is now in session.

The honorable Walter J. Skinner presiding.

Civil action 84-16-72.

Anderson and All v. W. R. Grace and Beatrice Foods.

JAN: Ladies and gentlemen,

there's a small town north of Boston called Woburn.

Now, Woburn is like many small towns.

It has homes. It has churches.

It has schools. It has industry.

But Woburn has something else.

It has more than its share of sickness and death.

CHEESEMAN: It's true small amounts of solvents were left on the ground.

Why? To evaporate.

Did they? Yes. These chemicals never reached Wells G and H almost half a mile away, and we will show that.

And they never made anyone sick, and we will show that too.

FACHER: The idea of criminal court is crime and punishment.

The idea of civil court and of personal injury law, by nature, though no one likes to say it out loud, least of all the, uh, personal injury lawyer himself, is money.

Money for suffering, money for death.

As if that could somehow relieve suffering, as if that could somehow bring dead children back to life.

Every credit card application we send in, we get two more in the mail.

Here's one from some bank I never heard of in North Dakota.

Fill it out. Fill them... Fill them all out.

It's the last great pyramid scheme in America.

GEOLOGIST: The terrain of east Woburn was actually shaped 12,000 years ago.

Uh, during the end of the last Ice Age.

Now, at this time, an immense glacier, over a mile thick, covered the face of what we would now call New England.

Cancel The American Lawyer.

Cancel all the legal journals. Who needs them?

And call the janitorial people.

Tell them their services are no longer required.

We can empty our own fucking ashtrays.

WITNESS: We want to try to understand what's going on in the groundwater system.

The place we have to start is the soil itself.

Now these are actual soil samples...

So that now you can see the Aberjona River valley.

I... I can't send you the entire balance right now, but, perhaps, we could work out some sort of a deal.

How much can I send you right now?

Uh, nothing.

FACHER: A plaintiff's case depends on momentum.

The fewer objections he gets, the better his case will go.

So, whenever you can, you should object.

18 times yesterday. 20 times today.

And they're not even his witnesses, they're his.

I can't not object when you phrase questions so improperly.

Now just from a craftsman's point of view...

He is deliberately trying to destroy the rhythm of my case.

I have no problem.

Here we are. Man!

You've got to have some good luck on this one.

Hold on, hold on, hold on. 17, 17, 17.

You got a winner there? No. No. Shit.

FACHER: Relevance, objection.

Hearsay, objection.

Best evidence, objection.

Authenticity. Objection.

If you should fall asleep at the counsel table, the first thing you say when you wake up should be...

Huh?

Objection. LAW STUDENTS: Objection.

BAILIFF: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

RILEY: Yes.

Good morning, Mr. Riley. Would you care for a glass of water?

No, thank you.

Are you sure?

FACHER: Now, the single greatest liability a lawyer can have is pride.

Pride.

Pride has lost more cases than lousy evidence, idiot witnesses and a hanging judge all put together.

There is absolutely no place in a courtroom for pride.

Mr. Riley, you own the property referred to often in this courtroom as the 15 acres, do you not?

RILEY: No, I don't.

That land is currently owned by a nonprofit corporation called the Wildwood Conservancy.

Oh, yes, yes. Here it is. The Wildwood Conservancy.

Now what is that, some kind of conservation group?

RILEY: Yes, sir. Hmm.

I've donated the land as a sanctuary for indigent wildlife.

Well, you know, I don't think the indigent wildlife has heard about this, Mr. Riley.

I've been out there on several occasions, and I've yet to see a single bird or any other living thing.

I get him to say no, no, no, no, no.

Then he says yes once, and I got him.

He's not that stupid.

You leave him up there long enough, he's gonna figure out a way to get you.

I'm not that stupid.

Mr. Riley, experts have testified in this court that your land, your 15 acres, is the most grotesquely polluted land in all of New England.

Now, you have no idea how it got that way?

No, sir.

Does it upset you to learn this?

RILEY: Very much so.

Really? Why?

FACHER: And one last thing.

Unless you know exactly what the answer's going to be, never, ever ask a witness why.

Never.

My factory is the oldest surviving business in Woburn.

When the other tanners moved out, I stayed.

Even though, for me, that was a very big financial burden.

This is not the question. I stayed because Woburn is my home.

Mr. Riley... Your Honor, this is not the question. It's my children's home.

He's trying to answer it, Mr. Schlichtmann...

JAN: Well, he's not answering it. If you'll just let him.

That land has been in my family for three generations.

That land, to me, is hallowed ground.

So when you ask me would I be upset, if someone came onto that land and desecrated it, land that's part of the town that I love?

My answer to your question, Mr. Schlichtmann,

is yes.

I have no further questions, Your Honor.

EVANGELIST: And the sad part of it is, they're robbing themselves of the blessing of giving.

And I know a lot of y'all ain't gonna believe this, but I got to share this with you.

If somebody wrote a check tomorrow for the total budget of my church, it wouldn't affect my giving one penny.

Ain't nobody gonna rob me of the blessing I get from giving!

Now you know why a lot of folks ain't getting?

'Cause they ain't giving!

So not rob yourself of the blessing of giving.

You'll never guess what I did last night.

You'll like this.

I pledged $200 to a televangelist.

I'm not kidding.

He said, "Give and ye shall receive."

I called him right up.

I know, I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking, "Gordon's losing it.

"He's falling apart.

"He's probably buying lottery tickets."

I bought a few, I'll admit it. I know. But, seriously, the jackpot's $45 million.

That's just this week. You should see the lines out there.

Is that a gun?

What?

This? No.

No, this is for you.

My krugerrands. I've had them forever.

I want you to have them.

And... This is the deed to my house.

And here is Conway's and Crowley's and Jan's.

See? I come bearing gifts.

We really need the money.

AUFIERO: You can tell when your child isn't feeling well.

"Has he got a temperature?" You say no.

"He's all right then," they say.

"Don't worry. Bring him into the clinic Monday morning."

JAN: All right, finally the families. He died Monday morning.

We'll start with Jimmy Anderson.

We count his trips to the hospital, the futile chemotherapy treatments.

Then the other kids, one by one, ending with Jarrod Aufiero...

...dying in his father's arms on the highway.

Will somebody get that?

Where is everybody?

You're just noticing now?

Gordon laid everybody off two weeks ago.

Gordon?

Instead of sitting there reading a magazine, why don't you go to Uncle Pete and get me a staff?

That's a good idea.

Why didn't I think of that?

Hello.

I was told there was a Cheeseman on the Mayflower.

SECRETARY: This way, sir. JAN: Thank you.

SKINNER: Ah, Jan, have a seat.

You want something to drink? Some coffee, soda?

You've been talking without my being present?

No, we have been drinking coffee without your being present.

Don't be so paranoid. They were early.

All right. What's up?

Jerry?

FACHER: Last night, I... I was at a ball game.

It was the seventh inning stretch, and I was standing there, and I don't know why, but it occurred to me at that moment, that unless you've proven that any, uh...

What word should we use? Uh, chemicals?

Poisons.

All right. If you like that word, I'll use it.

Unless you've proven that any poisons actually reached the wells, there's no case.

And, therefore, no need to make these families, who've already suffered so much, relive their suffering all over again by putting them on the stand.

Your Honor, you've got... That's interesting.

What?

I think I'd have to agree with that.

Well, Your Honor... Yes, if the jury decides favorably on the geological evidence, yes, then you could bring your families in. Otherwise...

Your Honor, the jury came into this courtroom expecting a human drama.

I don't care what they expect. Instead, for three months, we've been giving them lessons in geology.

Now, we had to do that, but now it's over, finally.

Now it's time... Now we have to see where we are before we can move on.

And before we subject these families to more trauma than is necessary...

Because that would just be cruel.

JAN: They... They want to testify. SKINNER: Mr. Schlichtmann.

They need to testify! The decision has been made.

Well, this is the defendant's plan. No, it's my plan.

This is Facher's plan right from the beginning. It's my plan.

He told me. He threatened me. It's my plan!

Now...

My plan is to present the jury with some simple questions.

SKINNER: Indeed, how you answer these three questions will determine whether or not this trial continues.

It's not that I disagree with them. I don't understand them.

What don't you understand? They're straightforward questions.

"Have the plaintiffs established by preponderance of evidence

"that chemicals containing TCE

"were disposed of on the W. R. Grace and Beatrice-owned lands

"after October 1, 1964, "and August 27, 1968, respectively, "and did those chemicals contribute to the well water contamination?"

These dates, for one thing. What... What are they?

Wh... Where did they come from? From out of a hat?

SKINNER: Question two.

"What, according to a preponderance of the evidence, "was the earliest time, the month and year, "at which these chemicals substantially contributed

"to the contamination of the wells?"

JAN: How can they determine that?

Science can't even determine...

When... When the chemicals arrived at the wells with the precision that you're asking of the jurors.

And, finally, three.

"What, according to a preponderance of the evidence, "was the earliest time, again the month and year, "at which substantial contribution referred to in question two

"was caused, if it was, by the negligent conduct of the defendants?"

What does that mean? It's... It's like English translated into Japanese back into English again.

Mr. Schlichtmann, I've heard enough.

Your Honor, no one can answer these questions.

I worked very hard on these questions. You're asking for answers that are unknowable.

I said I have heard enough. You're asking these people to create a fiction...

That will stand for the truth, but won't be the truth. Enough!

Once again, I remind you not to discuss your views with any outside party and excuse you...

Don't worry about it. Everything's under control.

SKINNER: And excuse you to your deliberations.

Thank you.


I've never done this.

In 45 years of practicing law, I've never waited in a corridor for a jury.

I always do.

I can tell. You... You're good at it.

You seem so at peace doing it.

So what do you think?

I... Is it good they're staying out this long or is it bad?

For who?

For me, of course.

You can never tell, can you?

I mean, it could mean anything.

It could mean jury duty is more fun than working at the post office.

It's bad for both of you.

You think?

Okay. Here's my take on it.

Guilty.

Not guilty.

That's what they're gonna say.

And it's not gonna have anything to do with dates or groundwater measurements or any of that crap, which nobody can understand anyway.

It's gonna come down to people, like it always does.

You found someone who saw him dumping stuff, you see.

You didn't find anyone who saw me. No.

What's your take?

They'll see the truth.

The truth? Oh.

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.

We're lucky to find anything here that in any way resembles the truth.

Oh.

You disagree?

Since when?

Eight kids are dead, Jerry.

Jan.

Jan, that suit fits you better than the sentimentality.

That's not how you made all that money all these years, is it?

You want to know when this case stopped being about dead children?

The minute you filed the complaint, the minute it entered the justice system.

Oh, yes.

Hey, I know, you like to gamble.

You're a high-stakes gambler. That's your profession.

Why don't we test your born-again faith in the righteousness of our courts with a high-stakes gamble?

See?

If that's a settlement offer, Jerry, it's not enough.

That's not what I hear.

Oh, well, I don't know who you've been talking to.

The IRS.

Telling us they have a lien on any eventual settlement in order to recover over two and a half million dollars in unpaid taxes.

Yeah.

Well, then...

All right.

What if I were to add six zeroes onto that?

That's right. That would be what?

20 million dollars.

Now...

That would put things in perspective for you as far as truth and justice and, uh, and dead children go?

If you want to talk seriously about a settlement offer, let's get the decision makers together and talk seriously.

The decision makers are here, aren't they?

I mean, you're looking at Mr. Beatrice.

I mean, I don't have to call anybody, do you?

It's just you and me.

We're like kings.

Well, we are kings.

Sitting in our castles deciding important things.

Deciding the fates of others and counting money in our counting room.

I'll tell you what. I'll leave this here.

I'll go back down the hall to my throne room, and I'll await your decision.

Yeah.

Oh, if you're really looking for the truth, Jan, look for it where it is.

At the bottom of a bottomless pit.


Okay.

SKINNER: Mr. Foreman, members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?

FOREMAN: Yes, Your Honor.

With respect to W. R. Grace,

the jury has answered yes to question one regarding trichloroethylene contamination requiring that we proceed further in the case against Grace to a second stage of this trial.

In regard to Beatrice, the jury has answered no to question one in all its points pertaining to contamination, which renders questions two and three inapplicable, ending the case against Beatrice.

Mr. Facher, that means you're excused.

Thank you, Your Honor.

We are, uh...

We're going to take a little break now.

A breather till the end of the month.

Once again, I remind you not to talk to anyone about your deliberations and thank you for your service.

JAN: Disappointed? No, no, we're not disappointed at all.

This is a victory.

This sends a clear message to these companies that they can no longer get away with this kind of thing.

So what now?

Right now I think we should celebrate, have some champagne. What do you think?

Yes?

REPORTER: So you intend to go forward with your claims against Grace?

JAN: Yes. No matter how long it takes?

JAN: Mmm-hmm.

CONWAY: We have to get out of this case as fast as we can.

That's the only strategy we have left. Sign here.

CONWAY: The good news is Grace wants to talk.

They want us to come to New York and sit down with, uh, their executive vice president, Al Eustis.

So before we do that, we need to know what our squeal point is.

Eight million.

Eight million will just about get us out of hock.

Bill?

Whatever Gordon says. He knows the numbers.

Jan?

Jan, every dollar we spend is a dollar we don't have.

We are floating on credit without a net.

Well, I don't need a net. Mortgage my house.

I don't care.

I have.

And Kevin's and Bill's and mine.

And I've cashed in our retirement plan and our life insurance policies, and it's gone.

JAN: All right, let me put it this way.

If we can't make it appear that we have money and we can go the distance, they're not gonna give us eight million dollars.

They're not gonna give us eight cents.

You know that.

You all know that.

HOTEL CLERK: It's the nicest suite in the hotel.

It has a living room, dining room, two bedrooms, a den, a lovely view.

It's $2,400 a night.

For our inner strength.

On the card?

Why not?

Farmer's Bank of Iowa.


Hey, there. Hi. Jan Schlichtmann.

Al Eustis. Have a seat. How are you?

Sorry, I'm late. I, uh, got lost.

You got lost? Yes.

How did you manage that?

Well, I've never been here before, so...

Wait. You've never been here before? What kind of a Harvard man are you?

The Cornell kind.

Cornell? Mmm-hmm.

I... I thought you went to Harvard.

Hmm.

Well, I'm... I'm sure somebody said that.

Yeah, somebody said you went to Harvard.

You... Hmm.

Cornell.

Yes.

Well, listen, Cornell is a... Is a damn good school.

Damn good.

So, what do you want?

Well, um, I can take you through it step by step, or, if you prefer, you could take this with you, study it.

It's a little, uh, complicated, but I'm sure...

It's an unspoken rule in the Harvard Club, Jan.

Business is never transacted here.

I meant, what did you want to drink?

JAN: I wanted to reach across the table and strangle him with his tie.

But instead, I sat there for two hours and listened to him talk about sailing his yacht in Long Island south.

EUSTIS: You know, sometimes I, uh, sometimes I actually prefer the little one.

The 35-footer. You know, 'cause I can crew it myself.

Hmm.

I can be all by myself, out there alone, and, boy, it's magnificent.

And there's no...

Nobody can call you, nobody can beep you, nobody can fax you.

There's... There's no lawsuits.

You know what I'm talking about. You sail, huh?

No.

You don't sail?

JAN: Finally, we went to his office.

EUSTIS: Come on, let's go over here and sit down for a second.

Come on. It's more comfortable.

Come on, have a seat.

He... He comes around the desk.

He sits down.

Go ahead. Sit down.

He puts his feet up on this spindly French antique thing.

And he tells me to put my feet up.

Put your feet up. Come on.

JAN: I don't want to.

No, thank you. No, go ahead.

Go ahead.

No, really, I'm fine.

Nothing's gonna break. It's all right.

Come on. Put them up.

It was weird. There was all this talk about my putting my feet on this table.

EUSTIS: It's all right. I mean it.

Try it. Come on. Put the feet up.

Okay. There.

Now, let's be honest.

I can afford to pay you almost anything you ask. It's not the money.

It's what a settlement that high says.

It says we're guilty.

And that says to every two-bit personal injury lawyer in Boston, "Hey, let's run off to Woburn and sign up every jerk with a head cold."

It creates a shark effect, and that I can't afford.

Give me a number.

Well, I'm not going to negotiate with myself, Al.

I'm not going to just throw out numbers so you can say no to them.

You'll have to come up with a number. Eight million.

Eight million?

He said eight million?

Mmm-hmm.

Eight million.

I can't go to the families with that.

CONWAY: Wait. What? Who? What families?

JAN: I can't go to them empty-handed.

What are you talking about?

Since when is $8 million empty-handed?

$8 million is a lot of money.

I owe them more than that.

GORDON: You owe them?

What do you owe them?

What do you owe them? You owe them your career?

We're talking about our careers here!

EUSTIS: You owe them that much?

CROWLEY: We're talking about our families here.

That's what we're talking here, you know.

CROWLEY: Our families, Jan.

Don't do it.

Don't go for broke on this one.

It isn't worth it, Jan.


Nobody calls anymore?

Not even the creditors?

Are the phones still working?

Schlichtmann, Conway and Crowley.

Just a minute, please.

Someone named Grendon.

Creditor.

Are you here?

Do I look like I'm here?

Yes, but he's in a meeting right now, sir.

Do me a favor, Gordon, will you? Shut up.

What?

I'm so tired of hearing you moan about money all the time.

This isn't about money anymore.

No? No.

What's it about?

What's it about, Jan?

Look, let's just all try to...

No, I want to know.

I want to know what I gave up my house for.

My credit. My life!

Would you take $10 million right now? Yes.

But you won't take eight? No.

No. So at $10 million this is some sort of a...

A mythic struggle, but at eight it's just another lawsuit.

If they're willing to pay eight, Gordon, then it's not enough, is it?

Oh, that makes sense. It makes perfect sense.

So the only thing you'll accept is what they're not willing to give us.

Listen to yourself!

Well, I, for one, am sick of listening to you.

Lost enough because of you!

You wouldn't have anything to lose if it wasn't for me.

Everything you have, I got for you!

I don't have anything, Jan!

What do I have?

I... I got, uh, I got a couple bucks and some bus transfers.

I've got a savings account from when I was 12 years old.

Here. There's $37 in here.

With interest after 25 years, there's probably $47. Take it.

CROWLEY: Gordon... Add it. Add it to the war chest.

Use it to fight injustice. Stand up for principles with that.

Go down in flames with it for all I care!

Only next time...

"Next time." That's a laugh.

Ask us if we want to go down with you!


Uh, I'd like to leave a message for Al Eustis, please.

Jan Schlichtmann.

WORKMAN: Let's get this junk out of here.

SKINNER: I've been informed that a settlement agreement has been reached.

As a condition of this agreement, the exact terms shall remain private among the parties involved.

I want to thank you for your service.

GORDON: Our contingency fee, as you know, as you agreed to, as is customary, is 40%.

But Jan suggested, and we all agreed, to reduce that to 28%.

Or $2.2 million.

Our expenses, what we actually paid out trying this case comes to $3.5 million.

Now, subtracting that and the 28% in fees from the $8 million we got from Grace, and dividing it equally among you, comes out to $375,000 per family.

And they're gonna clean the place up?

No.

Mmm-mmm.

ANNE: When you first came out here Mr. Schlichtmann, when we first spoke, I told you, I wasn't interested in money.

Here it comes.

What I wanted was an apology from someone for what they did to my son.

And you said, "Money is the apology.

"That's how they apologize. With their checkbooks."

Would you call this an apology?

No.

The only meaningful apology you're going to get is from me.

I'm sorry.

I'm afraid that isn't meaningful.

GORDON: Mrs. Anderson, you're looking at four guys who are broke.

We lost everything trying this case.

How can you even begin to compare what you've lost to what we've lost?


Listen...

The minute you put money on the table, things turn ugly.

It happens every time. Forget about it.

But she's right.

She's not right.

Now, it's cold, wet, we're standing in a swamp. I want to go home.

Somewhere out here somebody had to have seen what happened.

You can't do what Riley did without somebody seeing it.

You're talking about the case.

The case is over.

Jan...

Yeah, I know.

They've had it. They want out, right?

It's time they went their separate way.

And you know what I think of that?

Fine. Let them.

I can imagine worse things.

Like what?

Well, so what if we have to start over?

We did it once.

We can do it again. The two of us.

JAN: Oh.

Oh, I see.

When you say it's over, you mean it's over.

It's time for me to go my separate way.

You always went your separate way, Jan.


BOY: Man!

CASHIER: Your change.

Thank you.


BOY: Man!

RILEY: This is how silicone is put on leather to waterproof it.

JAN: It's poured on, like you poured water on my table.

RILEY: Yeah.

JAN: So then some of it must spill off the leather, like the water spilling off my table.

That's the part I'm interested in.

The spilled silicone and trichloroethylene, sir.

How you disposed to that?

He's here to look at your records. His court order gives him that right.

I'm not going to give you trouble unless you give me trouble.

MRS. GRANGER: I didn't call him. He just came.

Just the kind of thing you'd do. You let him in the door.

Of course, I let him in. That's bad enough. Man, I can't believe this.


Do you know how sometimes you can get so close to something that you lose sight of it?

I kept looking for someone who saw Riley dumping barrels of poison when what I should have been looking for is someone who helped him clean it up.

Was there a personal reason why you rented two dump trucks and a front loader back in October of '81?

Or was this just part of your job at the tannery?

Mr. Granger?

I don't have to talk to you.

I can tell you to get off my property, and I would be within my rights.

Yes, you would.

GRANGER: In the fall of 1981, Mr. Riley instructed me to rent a Michigan loader and two 10-wheel dump trucks.

Did he tell you why?

Yes, he did.

RILEY: All of it goes. Everything.

I don't want to see anything but topsoil.

All of it.

JAN: Did you think it was strange that after rotting out there for 20 or 30 years, he had to get rid of it now?

Take it anywhere. I don't even want to know where you take it. Just take it.

GRANGER: No, he told me why.

Uh, city inspectors were coming in a couple days.

He didn't want them to see it.

GRANGER: This went on for several nights.

Fill the trucks, trucks drive off.

Trucks come back empty, fill them up again.

MAN: Last one.

GRANGER: On the last night...

JAN: On the last night what?

Are you sure you didn't see some kids out there on that last night, lighting firecrackers, drinking beers?

I got nothing to say to you.

It'd be hard to forget, you know.

It apparently was quite a sight.

Throw it. Go, go, go.

Hey!

Watch out! Hey, you're on private property! Get out of here!

You little punks!

He's talking about you.

Hey, you know what, mister? I'm sorry. Look.

I got a little something to make it up to you. There you go!

There you go! Boom!

Get out of here!

I'll have you arrested. Oh! It's like that now.

You want some of that? Eat it, man!

Let's go, let's go, let's go.

Go, go, go, go!

JAN: Did Riley threaten you in any way with what might happen to you if you ever came forward?

No, sir.

He didn't say anything at all to you in this regard?

He gave me a couple Celtics tickets.

Told me to keep my mouth shut.


JAN: The appeals process is even more Byzantine than the trial it's appealing.

It takes longer, it costs more, its outcome is even less promising.

Only five cases in 50 will win in appeals court.

The odds are as easy to calculate as they are discouraging.

They're 10-to-1 against.

Just about any bet at any table in any casino anywhere in the world is better than that.

I have the evidence, but no longer the resources or the gambling spirit to appeal the decision in the Beatrice case.

I have no money, no partners, and, as far as I can tell, no clients anymore.

The Woburn case has become what it was when it first came to me.

An orphan.

I'm forwarding it on to you in all its unwieldiness, even as I know you may not care to adopt it any more than I did at first.

If you do decide to take it on, I hope you'll be able to succeed where I failed.

If you calculate success and failure as I always have, in dollars and cents divided neatly into human suffering, the arithmetic says, I failed completely.

What it doesn't say is if I could somehow go back knowing what I know now, knowing where I'd end up if I got involved with these people, knowing all the numbers, all the odds, all the angles,

I'd do it again.


BASEBALL ANNOUNCER: There's the pitch. It's low.

Mr. Facher?

Sorry.


Jesus.


JUDGE: Mr. Schlichtmann?

Mr. Schlichtmann?

I'm sorry. Yes?

JUDGE: The purpose of these questions is not to embarrass or humiliate you, but rather to verify the information you've declared as your assets.

I understand.

Because what you're asking your creditors to believe with this petition is...

Well, it's hard to believe.

I know.

That after 17 years of practicing law...

...all you have to show for it is

$14 in a checking account and a portable radio?

That's correct.

Where did it all go?

The money?

The money, the property, the personal belongings, the things one acquires in one's life, Mr. Schlichtmann.

The things by which one measures one's life.

What happened?


♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ I don't know why I love you like I do

♪ All the trouble you put me through

♪ Take my money my cigarettes

♪ I haven't seen the worst of it

♪ And I wanna know

♪ Can you tell me

♪ I love to stay ♪ Oh

♪ Oh, take me to the river

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Dip me in the river

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ I don't know why you treat me so bad ♪ Ooh, ooh

♪ Think of all the things that we could have had ♪ Ooh, ooh

♪ Love is a notion

♪ That I can't forget ♪ Ooh, ooh

♪ My sweet 16 I would never regret

♪ I wanna know

♪ Can you tell me

♪ I love to stay ♪ Stay

♪ Oh, oh, oh take me to the river

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Dip me in the river

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Push me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ Hold me

♪ Squeeze me

♪ Love me

♪ Tease me

♪ Till I can't

♪ Till I can't

♪ I can't take no more of it ♪ No

♪ The river ♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Dip me in the river

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Push me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water the water ♪ Wow, hey

Listen, y'all. Y'all ready?

Listen, y'all.

Y'all ready?

Are you ready, LA?

Come on!

♪ Don't know why

♪ I love her like I do ♪ Ooh

♪ All the changes that you put me through ♪ Ooh, ooh

♪ The sixteen candles burning on my wall ♪ Ooh, ooh

♪ Turning me into the biggest fool of them all

♪ I wanna know

♪ Oh, won't you tell me

♪ I love to stay ♪ Stay

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Dip me in the river

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Drop me in the water the water ♪ Wow

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Wow, whoo

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water ♪ Oh, oh

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ Take me to the river

♪ Drop me in the water

♪ Take me to the river ♪ Oh, oh

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ Take me to the river ♪ Oh, oh

♪ Drop me in the water the water

♪ Take me to the river ♪