Risk & Associates County Civil - March 2020

When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year- old files arrived at Bilott’s firm. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found. Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. Something in the Water

Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.

The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady

plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously.

But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.

The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows.


NO. 3: KEEP A POSITIVE, HEALTHY WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT. Our own Mr. Risk, mentions what a strong believer he is in treating employees right: We agree! Encouraging positivity and understanding in the workplace makes even the toughest days easier, and that can really show through into how clients are treated. Shawn Achor’s (who also does a great TEDx Talk!) book “The Happiness Advantage” outlines how positivity will not only make you six times more likely to be engaged at work, but it’ll also increase your positive relationships. That can make all the difference when your clients arrive at your front desk. We hope you find these tips helpful! They’ve certainly helped us and our people. And whether you’re looking for a background check or need someone to be served, you need people who will do it right. Risk & Associates County Civil will do exactly that.

Many of our attorneys and business owners already know finding leads is only half the battle in their business. Developing connections with people is incredibly important to our lives and our work — but keeping those connections can be very challenging. What’s the best way to maintain strong, positive communication? At Risk & Associates County Civil, we’ve been working with every kind of client for over 30 years, and we’ve encountered many different approaches to the “people first” business strategy! Here are our insights on the most effective ways to keep your clients feeling special. NO. 1: TREAT EVERY CLIENT AS IF THEY’RE YOUR ONLY CLIENT. Nobody’s more aware of it than you are: There’s a lot of choices your client could’ve made when it comes to choosing a firm to do business with. Clients want validation that they made the right choice! When you treat

your client as if they’re your only client, you can ease their consumer anxiety and reassure them you are the best choice for their needs. Make sure you expend the necessary resources to give each client the attention they need. NO. 2: CONNECT WITH YOUR CLIENTS AS A PERSON. Being honest and having a genuine interest in your clients’ lives can be crucial to making them feel like they’re your only client. Sure, not everyone wants to make new friends at every establishment they walk into, but you can certainly treat them as a friend anyway! For a tip as straightforward as this one, we find it’s still rare that businesses try to accomplish this. We can’t stress this tip enough: Clients are often overjoyed when they interact with a business that connects with them on a level beyond just transactions and routine check-ins.


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