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A Civil Action quotes

Kevin Conway: Oh, I see, when you say it's over, you mean it's over. It's time for me to go my separate way...
Jan Schlichtmann: You always went your separate way, Jan.

Jan Schlichtmann: Nobody calls anymore? Not even the creditors? Are the phones still working?

James Gordon: (Seeing Uncle Pete for another loan after Schlichtmann's firm is in serious financial trouble) You'll never guess what I did last night. You'll like this. I pledged $200 to a tele-evangelist. I'm not kidding. He said, "Give and ye shall receive." I called him right up. I know, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Gordon's losing it. He's falling apart. He's probably buying lottery tickets." I bought a few, I'll admit it. I know. But, seriously, the jackpot's $45 million. That's just this week. You should see the lines out there.
Uncle Pete: (Nods to a bulge in Gordon's pocket) Is that a gun?
James Gordon: What? This? No. No, this is for you. (Empties bag that was in his pocket full of coins)
James Gordon: My Krugerrands. I've had them forever. I want you to have them. And... this is the deed to my house. And here is Conway's and Crowley's and Jan's. See? I come bearing gifts. We really need the money.

Jan Schlichtmann: The odds of a plaintiff's lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. 12 times better. So why does anyone do it? They don't. They settle. Out of the 780,000, only 12,000 or 11/2 percent ever reach a verdict. The whole idea of lawsuits is to settle, to compel the other side to settle. And you do that by spending more money than you should, which forces them to spend more money than they should, and whoever comes to their senses first loses. Trials are a corruption of the entire process and only fools who have something to prove end up ensnared in them. Now when I say prove, I don't mean about the case, I mean about themselves.

Jan Schlichtmann: I can appreciate the theatrical value of several dead kids, I mean, I like that. Obviously, that's good. That is all this case has going for it. That's not enough. Get rid of it.

James Gordon: (Regarding the case and the following settlement) Mrs. Anderson, you're looking at four guys who are broke. We lost everything trying this case.
Anne Anderson: How can you even begin to compare what you've lost, to what we've lost.

Jan Schlichtmann: (narrating) It's like this. A dead plaintiff is rarely worth as much as a living, severely-maimed plaintiff. However, if it's a long slow agonizing death, as opposed to a quick drowning or car wreck, the value can rise considerably. A dead adult in his 20s is generally worth less than one who is middle aged. A dead woman less than a dead man. A single adult less than one who's married. Black less than white. Poor less than rich. The perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 years old, at the height of his earning power, struck down in his prime. And the most imperfect? Well, in the calculus of personal injury law, a dead child is worth the least of all.

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