MBS257 – Dark Waters with Environmental Attorney Robert Bilott
About this Podcast:
In this episode we bring you living superhero and legend Robert Bilott. He joins us to talk about his journey and the movie about his life ‘Dark Waters’ of how the lawyer, played by Mark Ruffalo, 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 (Bill Camp), 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. 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.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.