The Movie ' A Civil Action ' Essay

746 Words 3 Pages
In the film, A Civil Action, director Steven Zaillian introduces Jan Schlichtmann a personal injury lawyer. Jan’s firm took a case against a large chemical company W.R. Grace and a large conglomerate, Beatrice Foods. These companies were charged with water contamination and related childhood illness and deaths. Jan and his team eventually win the case against W.R. Grace; unfortunately, the toll personally and on the firm is too much. Jan ultimately goes back to personal injury in a small one man practice. He could never get over the case eventually sending all of the information and a letter to EPA in hopes that they will pursue it. This paper will look at the following questions as they relate to this film; what is the value of life, how does the film illustrate cost benefit analysis as an ethical approach to the decision making and how do toxic waste dumping and environmental issues relate to act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism?
In the film Jan explains cost benefit pretty clearly, “It 's like this. A dead plaintiff is rarely worth as much as a living, severely-maimed plaintiff. However, if it 's a long slow 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. The perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 years old, at…

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