Have you seen the film Dark Waters?
The film is based on the 2016 New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare," which describes Robert Bilott’s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals.
Robert Bilott put his career, his family, everything on the line to win justice for tens of thousands if not millions of people. It is because of people like him, people who continue to speak out and take action against injustice, that our society continues to improve. Thank you, Mr. Bilott.
Here’s a Times article that describes both the film and its portray of Mr. Bilott’s struggle to bring justice. I highly recommend the film.
Rob Bilott, a corporate lawyer-turned-environmental crusader, doesn’t much care if he’s made enemies over the years. “I’ve been dealing with this for almost three decades," he says. “I can’t really worry about if the people on the other side like me or not."
•a corporate lawyer 企業律師
•environmental crusader 環境鬥士
•make enemies 樹敵、建立敵人
Bilott used to be on the other side. The Todd Haynes-directed movie Dark Waters, tells the story of how the lawyer switched allegiances. As happened in real life, the movie depicts Ruffalo’s Bilott as a lawyer who defends large chemical companies before he is approached for help in 1998 by Wilbur Tennant, a West Virginia farmer whose land was contaminated by chemical giant DuPont. Inflamed by that injustice, and the complicity of local authorities, the lawyer risks his career as he embarks on a decades-long legal siege of one of America’s most powerful corporations.
•switch allegiances 轉換陣營
He works, at first, on Tennant’s behalf, then pursues a class action suit representing around 70,000 people living near a chemical plant that allegedly contaminated drinking water with PFOA, a toxic chemical used in the production of Teflon. In recent years, studies have correlated long-term exposure to PFOA with a number of illnesses, including some types of cancer.
•on behalf of sb/in behalf of sb; on sb’s behalf/in sb’s behalf 代表～；作為～的代表；代替～ ; 因為，為了～的利益
•contaminate drinking water 污染飲用水
•perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) 全氟辛酸銨
In 2017, Bilott won a $671 million settlement on behalf of more than 3,500 plaintiffs. Those people claimed they had contracted diseases, among them kidney cancer and testicular cancer, from chemicals DuPont allegedly knew may have been dangerous for decades, and allowed to contaminate their drinking water anyway.
•contract a disease 患病、染病
In Dark Waters, Haynes emphasizes the seemingly endless fight taken up by Bilott, as DuPont brings its considerable resources to bear to defend itself over the course of two decades. According to one analyst, the film’s potential to raise awareness about these issues could have a serious effect on some chemical companies’ bottom lines. But for the real Rob Bilott, the work of taking the industry to court is far from over. In October 2018, the lawyer filed a new lawsuit against several companies, including 3M, Arkema, and Chemours, a manufacturer spun off from DuPont in 2015. That ongoing case is seeking class action status, and was initially brought on behalf of Kevin Hardwick, a firefighting veteran of 40 years who used fire-suppression foams and firefighting equipment containing a class of chemicals known as PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFOA is one type of PFAS chemical).
•seemingly endless fight 看似永無止境的鬥爭
•considerable resources 為數可觀、相當多的資源
•raise awareness about… 激發對～的警覺
•seek class action status 尋求集體訴訟（派一方代表訴訟）地位
•polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) 全氟烷基物質（廣泛被用來作為表面塗料，不易分解、會產生污染）
PFAS chemicals are used in products ranging from waterproof jackets to shaving cream, and they can leach into water supplies in areas where they are disposed of or used in fire suppression (in particular on military bases, where they have been used for years). According to Bilott’s complaint, studies currently suggest that PFAS is present in the blood of around 99% of Americans. The class of chemicals has broadly been linked to immune system disruption, while PFOA specifically has been found to be associated with cancers and other diseases. Bilott’s newest lawsuit, as with his prior cases, alleges that these companies knew for decades that PFAS chemicals, specifically PFOA, could be linked to serious health problems, and that they still assured the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other U.S. government regulators that PFAS exposures were harmless.
•government regulators 政府監管、立法單位
“What we’re hearing once again from those companies that put those chemicals out there, knowing that they would get into the environment and into our blood, is that there’s insufficient evidence to show that they present risks to humans who are exposed," explains Bilott. “These companies are going to sit back and say, we’re entitled to…use you as guinea pigs, yet those of you who are exposed are somehow the ones who are going to have to prove what these ‘chemicals’ do to you."
•insufficient evidence 證據不足
•a guinea pig（通常用於測試藥效的）實驗對象，供做實驗的人 ; 豚鼠，天竺鼠
“If we can’t get where we need to go to protect people through our regulatory channels, through our legislative process, then unfortunately what we have left is our legal process," says Bilott. “If that’s what it takes to get people the information they need and to protect people, we’re willing to do it."
•regulatory channels 管制途徑
•legislative process 立法程序
Robert Bilott is a true hero.
圖片出處: Cincinnati Enquirer