"A Civil Action", by Jonathan Harr and it's effects on civil law.

Essay by rober103University, Bachelor's November 2002

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The legal system is an essential element in the successful operation of this country. It is a system that is utilized every day, by every type of person, from the average blue-collar worker to the average Wall Street broker. There is a multitude of ways that the legal system is put to use. One such way is the class action lawsuit. A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr, uses the account of a single case, Anne Anderson, et al., v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al, to illustrate the power and importance of class action lawsuits in the civil justice system.

The purpose of class action lawsuits is to give the common man the ability to take on the largest corporate or private entities, who can afford the very best legal services, and have a chance of redressing the wrong done by these entities (Clark, sec. 1).

Without class action lawsuits, ordinary citizens acting individually would not have the means to challenge corporate and governmental wrongdoers.

A Civil Action provides an in depth account of the life of one class action suit. It explores the role of the lawyer in litigating situations, focusing on the critical factor of proving causality. It brings to light numerous pitfalls encountered by both the prosecution and defense. In addition to exposing the potential pitfalls that can occur in a class action lawsuit, A Civil Action also touches on the motivation behind these cases. A definite motivation must exist for all persons involved in a class action lawsuit, since the uncertainty, stress, and pitfalls that accompany this form of civil action are tremendous.

A Civil Action did not attempt to sugarcoat the process of trying a case such as the Woburn case. The complication were numerous and often hard to overcome. For...