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Jan Richard Schlichtmann (born March 16 1951) is an American attorney specializing in personal injury law and toxic torts. He was educated at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, B.A., and Cornell University, J.D., and was admitted to the bar in 1977.
German-American attorney Schlichtmann became famous in the 1980s as a result of his lawsuit against W. R. Grace and Beatrice Co. (Anderson v. Cryovac) alleging that chemicals from these companies had contaminated drinking water in a town north of Boston, Woburn, Massachusetts. Extensive tests by Schlichtmann's experts and the Harvard School of Public Health showed that defendants W. R. Grace and Beatrice Co. had polluted Woburn's water with dangerous levels of various carcinogenic chemicals.
The contamination is alleged to have resulted in the deaths of children from leukemia. This civil action case, often referred to as "Woburn," was chronicled in the 1995 book A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, which in turn was made into a film starring John Travolta as Schlichtmann.
More recently Schlichtmann was co-counsel with environmental attorney Mark Cuker of Philadelphia in a successful lawsuit on behalf of 68 families from Toms River New Jersey whose children developed cancer as a result of exposure to carcinogenic chemicals in the air and water there from two federal Superfund clean-up sites of toxins produced by Union Carbide and Ciba-Geigy chronicled in the 2013 book Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by environmental journalist Dan Fagin.
Schlichtmann has continued in his practice of the law, with a focus on toxic torts and consumer protection. He was engaged in a legal battle with a debt collection agency known as "The Cadle Company". Schlichtmann is also representing families from Wilmington, Massachusetts in a case that resembles his representation of the families from Woburn. He is currently working with Bob Ackley, a gas specialist, in an effort to save urban forests and shade trees from natural gas leaks.
Jan Schlichtmann co-founded The Legal Broadcast Network with Mark Wahlstrom in 2005. LBN is a blogging and podcasting site of interest to trial lawyers and consumers interested in various aspects of trial law and settlement issues. In 2007 he also founded The Civil Action Center as a means of educating attorneys and citizens about alternatives to litigation, means of empowering consumers and discussion of environmental law.