The Five-Fifty-Seven tells the story of Dan Sullivan, a class action defense attorney struggling with the moral and emotional dilemmas created by his complex practice where the plaintiffs are most often dead or dying and his clients, the accused corporations, face enormous potential liability. Dan practices in Charleston, West Virginia, often labeled as one of the worst judicial “hell holes” in America due to perceived anti-businesses judges and plaintiff friendly laws providing a colorful back drop for Dan’s story. The book provides the reader with a window into the high pressure world of big stakes litigation through Dan’s jaundiced eye and invites one to join him on his personal struggle with mid-life, his divorce, greed, and corruption. Additionally, the book contains many entertaining and surprising scenes from the alcohol and money fueled lives of hardcore litigators and succeeds in bringing a fresh voice to law-based fiction springing from the civil defense attorney’s perspective. It also contains many interesting insights and observations into traditional southern society.
Structurally, the early presentation of a mysterious letter that Dan finds in his office implicating a corporation in covering up the serious health hazards posed by its chemical products creates mystery and suspense and sets the theme. At first, the letter does not seem to have any connection to any of Dan’s clients or cases. However, ultimately it becomes the smoking gun linking Dan’s client to the seriously disabling illness suffered by a plaintiff in one of Dan’s cases. Piled on to his stressful work load, Dan must also struggle with moral and ethical questions of whether he should produce the document to the other side in the course of the lawsuit. In the end, the reader gains an understanding of this seemingly familiar but not well understood area of the law, as well as an appreciation for those who work in it.
While it is in no way autobiographical, the life that Dan leads and the details of his practice are accurately based upon the author’s own experiences working as a mass tort/class action lawyer in West Virginia for over a decade. Mr. Zurbuch was born and raised in the small river town of Wellsburg, WV and graduated from Denison University in Granville, OH with a B.S. in Economics in 1992. In 1996, he graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law and began his law practice in southern, West Virginia. Currently, Mr. Zurbuch practices law in Aspen, Colorado.
Rating: (out of 3 reviews)
List Price: $ 2.99
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