Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meet Renowned Attorney Jan Schlichtmann At Public Screening of "A Civil Action"

Great Swamp Watershed Association will show film, starring John Travolta, at Morris Cultural Center on March 22.


Morris Township, NJ—Jan Schlichtmann’s dogged pursuit of justice for families torn apart by environmental pollution nearly cost him his career. In the 1980s, the personal injury attorney took on a lawsuit that would have an extraordinary impact on the environmental movement in the U.S. The suit, Anderson v. Cryovac (or Woburn as is it more commonly known), pitted residents of the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, against two manufacturers, W.R. Grace and Beatrice Co., who allegedly discharged carcinogenic waste into Woburn’s water supply that eventually lead to the leukemia-related deaths of several local children.

The facts of the Woburn case, as well as the extraordinary expense incurred during prosecution, caught the attention of writer Jonathan Harr.  After numerous years of research, Harr turned Schlichtmann’s story and the story of the Woburn families into a work of nonfiction titled, A Civil Action. The book, which was published in 1995, garnered several prestigious nominations and awards, and was eventually turned into a major motion picture. In 1998, Academy-Award-nominee John Travolta was tapped to portray Schlichtmann in the theatrical version of A Civil Action, which opened to substantial critical acclaim. Co-star Robert Duvall would eventually win an Oscar for his supporting role in the film.

Although the plaintiffs never won their original case in court, the Woburn suit set a precedent for the use of environmental science research and testimony in the courtroom that has been replicated time and time again. This is the procedural mark Jan Schlichtmann has made on the legal landscape of the U.S., and the victory that has made him a significant figure in the environmental movement.

The Great Swamp Watershed Association will host a special evening of conversation and discussion with Mr. Schlichtmann on Thursday, March 22, at the Morris County Cultural Center located at 300 Mendham Road in Morris Township, NJ. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and a public screening of the film A Civil Action (115 minutes) will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. After the screening Mr. Schlichtmann will answer questions about the Woburn case, his life during and after its prosecution, and the legal and advocacy projects he has undertaken in its aftermath, including the founding of the Legal Broadcast Network, the establishment of The Civil Action Center, and his mission to protect urban forests and shade trees from destruction.

Please join us for this very special event!

What:  Public screening of A Civil Action starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall

Where:  Morris County Cultural Center, 300 Mendham Rd., Morris Township, NJ

When:  Thursday, March 22, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Who:  Jan Schlichtmann, the personal injury and environmental attorney who inspired the film

Register:  Seating is limited. Please pre-register online at Attendees are asked to make a voluntary donation of $10 to cover costs associated with the event.

For more information, write to or call GSWA at 973-538-3500.


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