Orphans & Dogs

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Last Updated on February 20, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1348

After the Rule 11 hearing, Schlichtmann’s excitement about the Woburn case dies down as he focuses on his rising career. Schlichtmann and Conway land a big case surrounding a hotel fire thanks to Reed. Schlichtmann spares no expense to prepare this case and decides to create an atmosphere unlike a trial to present his findings. He rents out the Ritz ballroom and invites both sides to attend the presentation, offering lunches and dinners. The two work alongside Bill Crowley, another young Reed & Mulligan lawyer. After days of presenting evidence, Schlichtmann walks out of the dispute with $2.25 million. Feeling proud of his new way of negotiating, he decides to follow this format for all his cases.

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Things quickly shift after Reed takes most of the money and all the credit for the settlement. Schlichtmann opens his own firm, and Conway, Crowley, and Kathy Boyer go with him. They open Schlichtmann, Conway & Crowley on the second floor of a historic building near the courthouse. They spare no expense hiring a decorator, believing perception is crucial. Schlichtman and Conway smile about their success. Conway encourages Schlichtmann to dump the Woburn case.

When the firm opens, they get their share of “orphans” and “dogs.” Dogs are frivolous cases in which the accusers are clearly looking to get paid, whereas orphans are cases that look promising but have been turned down by multiple firms. One orphan catches Conway’s eye: Paul Carney was in a small motor-vehicle accident. He was taken to the hospital for whiplash, but five months later, Carney contracted severe infections and is now wheelchair-bound.

Schlichtmann abandons the Woburn case for Carney’s and spends months unraveling the puzzle, putting nearly two hundred thousand dollars into the case. He believes the bone infection causing Carney to be wheelchair-bound occurred from a prolonged treatment of steroids. He brings this evidence to the Ritz, and the insurance company retreats. They offer its max settlement: one million dollars. Schlichtmann turns it down, believing the case is worth three.

As the firm prepares for trial, Schlichtmann runs into Cheeseman on the street. Schlichtmann invites Cheeseman up to see his work on the Carney case, and Cheeseman is astonished by his evidence. Cheeseman keeps thinking about the Woburn case and hopes Schlichtmann loses the Carney case.

A large audience comes to watch Schlichtmann work the Carney case. On the fifteenth day of trial, Carney is awarded $4.7 million dollars. Schlichtmann makes the front page of the Boston Herald for the largest award sum in Bay State history. This win gives Schlichtmann the confidence to start and end the Woburn case once and for all.

While Schlichtmann was working the Carney case, two Harvard professors completed a three-year study on leukemia clusters in Woburn. The research began after Anne and Young spoke at the School of Public Health. Professor Marven Zelen believed he knew a way to solve this “riddle” through statistical analysis. Zelen and a colleague collect information on every child born in Woburn between 1960 and 1982 through a telephone survey. The final study showed strong evidence to suggest water from wells G and H were linked to “adverse health effects.” The study also determined a positive link between the water and leukemia. Even Dr. Truman starts to believe leukemia could be triggered by external stimuli. However, many credible sources, such as the CDC, speak out against the findings.

Cheeseman waits for Schlichtmann’s next move, intending to ask Skinner to drop the case because there is no direct evidence showing that the water causes leukemia. Cheeseman visits Harvard to see the labs of two doctors who have treated over two thousand leukemia patients. While the EPA suspects that TCE is linked to...

(The entire section contains 1348 words.)

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