Mar 23, 2013
Mann v. Ford
In 1955, Ford built America’s largest auto plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, just up the river from New York City. Between 1967 and 1971, Ford dumped hundreds of tons of toxic waste into mineshafts in northern New Jersey—right in the backyards of communities.
The sludge of lead, arsenic, Freon, paint chemicals and dioxins poisoned the members of the Ramapough Native American community, causing a spate of severe health problems. Mothers started having miscarriages; people started coming down with cancer.
One member of the Ramapough, Wayne Mann, led the charge against Ford in 2005 with a lawsuit stating that they had deliberately poisoned the land and the people living on it. The class action suit finally carried through in 2008; but with an impending bankruptcy on the horizon, the Ramapough took a settlement averaging $8,000 per plaintiff—except for the 30 people in the area who died of cancer while the lawsuit went through the courts.
"Less than 5 percent of the community have lived past 60, indicating what one doctor in the film matter-of-factly refers to as 'a massive die-off' rate."
"The Record called this time period a “toxic wild west,” ... The investigation found that Ford repeatedly dumped waste in poor communities, and knowingly dumped sludge into a stream that feeds into the Wanaque Reservoir. This was reportedly done through organized crime and government manipulation, coupled with relaxed environmental regulations and clean-up efforts." ~ Jessica Mazzola, patch.com
"If I poisoned 10 children, I’d go to jail for life; if a corporation poisons hundreds of people, it will get away with it." ~Wayne Mann