Vicki Gilliam, an associate of the Cochran Law Firm through its Jackson office, was assigned their case as the lead attorney. In Mann v. Ford, HBO Documentaries has put together a frequently gut-wrenching, empathetic cinematic account of Ford Motor Company’s death sentence placed upon the Ramapough nation, revealed when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced Ford to admit to dumping “millions of gallons of paint sludge and other industrial waste in this mountain community,” on tribal lands and in the depleted iron mines of nearby Upper Ringwood, New Jersey, from its plant in Mahwah, N. J. EPA designated the 500-acre area a Superfund Site in 1983 and Ford agreed to clean it up within 10 years, but only scraped away the surface toxins before leaving it in 2004.
The tribe has lived at this same location for 200 years. Ford started dumping its millions of tons of toxic waste on the tribal land 44 years ago. Mann informed Cochran firm lawyers in Manhattan that he spoke on behalf of nearly 700 of his fellow tribe members. The earliest phase of the lawsuit included well-known legal activists like Robert Kennedy, Jr., and Joseph Rosato of New York. But the real work eventually redounded to the Cochran office in Jackson, where the feisty Vicki Gilliam was assigned as the lead attorney. The 13-count suit filed in state Superior Court in Paterson, N. J., alleged fraud and negligence and asked for medical monitoring and compensation that would eventually be assessed at over $2 billion in all.
The borough of Ringwood was also put on notice that it also might be sued. The attorneys said they would seek $3 million per resident, a total that could exceed $2 billion. Apart from the early discovery of the source of the rampant deaths and constant sickness among the Ramapough, two shocking developments were brought out in the HBO documentary. First, the widely praised appointment of Lisa Jackson, the former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to be the nation’s EPA administrator, turned out to be a dud after her confirmation and the go-slow approach she adopted in indicting Ford for lying about its failed cleanup of the Upper Ringwood Superfund site.
The Ramapough tribe had come to Washington to lend visible and vocal support for Jackson by sitting directly behind her during the Congressional hearings on her appointment and testifying on her behalf. The second shocker was Vicki Gilliam’s removal as lead attorney just as a settlement with Ford was about to be considered. Vicki was breaking up with her original law partnership in Jackson at about the same time that the Cochran firm decided to close down its Jackson office.
“I was with the Cochran firm,” she said after previewing the film to an overflow crowd Monday evening at her Clinton office. “My old law partners decided to move to New Orleans. This case was being handled by the Cochran national group. They had the rights to it. I had no right to contact the clients after they shifted the lead attorney’s role. And when they closed down the Jackson office, I wanted to know if I was still involved with the case. They said, well, if we have to go to trial, you’ll be a part of it.”
Apparently, the firm, whose national office is in Dothan, Alabama, would settle out of court for a lot less than anybody had expected, especially Vicki Gilliam. “I didn’t know what the settlement was until I saw this documentary,” she said Monday. “And when I saw it in January, after they had sent me a copy, I said, ‘Oh, my God.’” Her disappointment lay primarily in the difference between the amounts the original set of lawyers viewed as just compensation for individual tribal members, about $3 million each, or $2 billion total.
The film reported that the average payout was under $8,000 per plaintiff. The total paid by Ford to plaintiffs was $13.5 million. “To put two-and-a-half years of your life into a case and to believe in what you’re doing, then have someone call to ask what’s going on in that case, it can be very frustrating,” she said. Although she is still perplexed over the Cochran firm’s abrupt displacement of her from the lead attorney’s role, she remains philosophical over the ultimate outcome, given the effort her team made in seeking environmental justice for the Ramapough. [Note by Mary Neal: The settlement amount in this paragraph by McBride is incorrect. It was only $12.5 million, according to my sources.]
“I want people to see there are good plaintiffs’ lawyers who care and who are compassionate and who work really hard for their clients,” she said after the showing of the documentary. “And for anybody to take that away from this movie, then I’ve achieved what I wanted. And that is in addition to the story about the people.” Ford, too, remains under EPA constraints. Ford is obligated to clean up the entire toxic mess it made in the Ramapough community, Gilliam says.
“Twelve-and-a-half million is not much,” she says.
5. Edwina Davis reports that she is also a Cochran Firm Faud victim. She filed a pro se lawsuit against Tyco International Corporation in a sexual harassment case. Cochran Firm attorney M. Pete signed contract with Davis and got her permission to remove her lawsuit against Tyco from Georgia Superior Court to amend it and re-file the lawsuit with his entry of service. However, Pete never re-filed Davis' lawsuit. Instead, he arranged settlement with Tyco for a small amount of money, considering the abundance of evidence and witnesses that Davis had that her boss squeezed her breasts continually and Tyco's human resources department refused to censure him after Davis' complaints. Davis notified Pete that she felt dissatisfied with her low settlement after she read about settlements in other sexual harassment cases. Davis felt cheated. Davis reports that after notifying Pete of her dissatisfaction with the small settlement he arranged, she was subjected to increased stalking and terrorism, which began when she initially filed suit against Tyco. Davis made videos about her victimization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuFFWeP4tk "Edwina Davis Tape 1 of 10 - Cochran Firm Fraud."
Everyone who learns about The Cochran Firm denying in court that it has offices in Georgia recognize that perjury as being major news which was censored. Mainstream media suppresses news about The Cochran Firm's frauds against its clients to protect the interests of government entities and corporations that may need The Cochran Firm to defraud minorities in the future. It is my opinion that The Ramapough People had a case against the Environmental Protection Agency as well as Ford Motor Company. After the Environment Protection Agency ordered Ford to clean the land, it had a duty to enforce its order. Instead, the land remained contaminated and caused more injuries and deaths among The People.
Interestingly, The Cochran Firm closed its Jackson office after defrauding the Ramapough People. That may have been done in preparation for the Native Americans' lawsuit against The Firm when the Native Americans realize they were defrauded to protect Ford and the EPA. Unless the Ramapough have good running shoes, they should probably take the loss without filing a fraud lawsuit like my elderly mother and I did before learning who our defendant really was. I am continually followed and censored to the point that it is challenging sharing links to my articles. If you care and dare, grab links from these blogs and independent news sites and help warn legal consumers about The Cochran Firm Fraud. Use links from FreeSpeakBlog at http://freespeakblog.blogspot.com/ or other blogs and media below:
Cochran Firm fraud victim no. 5 was added: Edwina Davis. Please see "Edwina Davis Cochran Firm Fraud" at YouTube (link is above). The Anderson family in Kentucky and the Jackson family in California are presently litigating against The Cochran Firm for defrauding them regarding wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. This writer's online and telephone communications are under constant surveillance and attack. There may be other fraud litigation against The Cochran Firm currently underway that this writer has yet to uncover and report. To check for more lawsuits, please Google "Cochran Firm Fraud." Also Google "v. Cochran Cherry Givens Smith & Sistrunk."
Oppose all measures to censor the Internet. My articles, blogs, and emails to warn people about The Cochran Firm fraud are frequently attacked by cyberstalkers. Authorities refuse to apply federal and state laws to investigate and prosecute the stalkers. Consumer protection agencies refuse to take reports from fraud victims or to censure the firm if reports are accepted. Courts usually dismiss plaintiffs' cases when The Cochran Firm is sued. The program is intended to remain secret and go unpunished. If it were not for the Internet, The Cochran Firm fraud and other crimes against poor and middle class Americans, particularly minorities and disabled people, would escalate without ever being reported. Save the Internet from government controls. The Bible says, "My people perish for lack of knowledge." Support the First Amendment. The freedom you save might be your own.