A Civil Action is a 1998 film, starring John Travolta (as plaintiff’s attorney Jan Schlichtmann) and Robert Duvall, based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Harr. Both the book and the film are based on the real-life case of Anderson v. Cryovac that took place in Woburn, Massachusetts in the 1980s.
Jan Schlichtmann (John Travolta) is a successful lawyer who has started his own practice. Early legal victories have made him wealthy and one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors. All of this begins to collapse after Jan begins activity on one of his firm’s cases, a lawsuit on behalf of the parents of deceased children in a small industrial town against the companies they believe to have polluted their water. The pollutant in question is trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent, and it appears to have caused fatal cases of leukemia and cancer, as well as a wide variety of other health problems, among the citizens of the town.
Jan believes that this case will be easily won, resulting in a fortune for him and the families and prestige for his firm. However, the huge expenses in both time and money incurred in the class action suit soon begin to take their toll on his finances, ambitions, and career. (Source – Wikipedia)