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Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle against DuPont Hardcover – October 8, 2019
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“In the grand tradition of Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action, lawyer Bilott presents his own real-life legal thriller...readers will be riveted...smartly told and briskly paced, with keen attention to pertinent details.” —Booklist (starred review)
"Leaves little doubt that year after year, the corporation misled government agencies, courts, and consumers into a false sense of security about the poisonous nature of their manufacturing processes.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An intimate account of one of the most appalling environmental crimes in modern history. Exposure is a classic story of American good and American evil—of the triumph of ingenuity, diligence, and self-sacrifice over psychopathic corporate nihilism. Rob Bilott is a hero of our time.” —Nathaniel Rich, writer at large for the New York Times Magazine and author of Losing Earth: A Recent History
“Rob Bilott uncovered the most heinous corporate environmental conspiracy in history. The evidence is literally in your blood. Rob makes one shocking discovery after another while bringing the culprit to justice. You won’t be able to put Exposure down.” —Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group
About the Author
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Anyone who has ever been involved with a court case knows that it's the evidence admitted that determines outcomes. How Bilott managed to mire through hea hundred-thousand pages of more of documents thrown at him by DuPont to find the skeleton key to winning this case is a miracle in itself.
Here's to those who battle dragons and the senior partners at Taft that supported him when the outcome was as clear as a muddied lake.
Bilott is a corporate defence lawyer, but in this case, he became the small man’s plaintiff lawyer. He begins this book with the intriguing brief from a poor farmer, Earl Tennant, that came to him through his grandmother, Alma White. Farmer Earl’s cattle and even his family were all falling ill. He suspected – no, he strongly believed – that it was something that the big company DuPont pumped into the waters of Dry Run Creek nearby.
This book is the exciting account of how Bilott took on Earl Tennant’s case and fought a court action that resulted in a satisfactory settlement for Tennant. But that was only half the story because part of the settlement required a Science Panel to study the effect of the deadly agent, known by various names such as AFPO, PFOA, FC 143, and C8. It is the chemical used to make Teflon. The agreement saw further pay-outs should the Science Panel determine that C8 was the likely cause of any illness.
In the meantime, more cases sprung up from elsewhere, all with the same problems that Earl Tennant and the people of Parkersburg had with C8. A new action was commenced by Bilott on behalf of his new client, Joe Kiger. This time, Bilott, after studying Kiger’s story, commenced a class action. The fight with DuPont was far from over. It had gotten bigger. The book is also a legal thriller and should be read by law students and lawyers. Bilott found how difficult it was to fight a giant corporation like DuPont. His methods and perseverance form the fascinating aspects of the book.
Was Bilott a good lawyer, an altruistic man. Or a glory seeker? The reader can decide. In the meantime, like Erin Brockovich, Bilott’s book has been made into a movie – Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo as Bob Bilott.
Being somewhat aware of PFAS prior to reading the book, I was impressed to see a complicated scientific topic broken down (without dumbing it down). Bilott did a great job of capturing his learning curve as well, making it clear how much time he put into learning the material to represent the cases as eloquently and accurately as possible. But fear not, if science is not your interest the book covers the legal proceedings in wonderful detail.
I highly recommend this book and have purchased several copies for Christmas gifts!