Burden of Truth (2018) s01e02 Episode Script

The Ties That Bind

1 Seizures, uncontrollable twitching, loss of motor function.
All vaccinations will be on the bargaining table, open for litigation.
Go to Millwood, and block this injunction.
There's a reason that we left when you were a kid.
I'll keep my head down, avoid any bar fights, and I will get this done.
Crush them and get the hell back here.
- I love you.
- I love you too, Dad.
Joanna Hanley, attorney for Bordoxx.
William Crawford, Crawford and Associates.
Last time I saw you, we were in high school.
Our girls are sick, Joanna.
You know you're the bad guy, right? Molly, Luna just told me.
You didn't get the HPV vaccine.
Something else is making these girls sick.
You have to figure out what it is.
We worked so hard to get here.
Did you ever think it would feel different? You saw me and you thought, "Well, she's just a sick kid.
She'll agree to anything.
" Agh! [SOFT MUSIC] [BUZZING] [SIGHING] [RINGING] Morning, beautiful.
Are you just getting up? Are you kidding? I've been working since four.
You? Oh, you know the drill.
Trying to get to work.
- The freeway's a parking lot.
- What else is new? Alan, look.
I think something big is going on here.
Jo, we already absolved our client.
Yeah, but something's still making these girls sick.
Well, that may very well be true, but I mean, that's not your cross to bear.
There's a case here.
A huge one.
I know it, and I want to stay here and fight it.
What?! What are you talking about? I'm teaming up with Billy Crawford.
Wait.
The the guy that used to mow your lawn? Yeah.
Turns out he's talented.
He just doesn't have any resources.
Jo, you're supposed to be home already by now.
I know.
Your dad's been trying to reach you.
I just need more time to work on this.
You're gonna pitch CTS to take this case.
That's right.
With your help.
Is that right? We're still a team, Alan, and you are the best lawyer that firm's got.
So, what do you say? What you need? I'm gonna send over some materials in the next few hours.
I need you to review them and then brief my father.
- You got it.
- That's amazing.
Thank you.
- You sound different.
- What? I don't know, just energized.
You know, more passionate.
Must be the country air.
Yeah, must be.
OK.
I gotta go meet Billy.
Keep an eye out for that email and I will touch base with you later.
Come on! Let's go! [THEME MUSIC] It hasn't changed much.
Large half-caf, soy, no-foam latte.
It's just a coffee, isn't it? Yeah.
The CT scans are booked, and all the girls can get their blood work done in the meantime.
- Good.
- So the twitches, they started right after the vaccine clinic? Yeah, a couple of weeks after.
Was anything else happening at the time? No, just normal life.
That's why we focused on the vaccine.
It was the only thing.
[SIREN CHIRPING] - [CAR DOOR CLOSING] - Morning.
Morning, Billy.
Ma'am.
Still here? - Yeah.
- What's up? We got a call to you-know- where, about you-know-who.
You better take care of this or I will.
All right.
I'll drive over.
See what I can do.
Appreciate it.
It's on the way to the hospital.
It'll just take a second.
- [DOG BARKING] - Wait here.
- Hey, Jax.
How you doin'? - Hey, Billy.
Hasn't school started already? - I can't find my shoes.
- Control that mutt, Phil! Screw off, you stupid dog! This'll be the last time! You shut your dog up! Whoa, whoa! What're you doing? I see your dog on my property one more time, he's dead.
Do you hear me, Phil? Hey.
Ease up, John.
- Come on, Rocky.
- [DOG WHIMPERING] You know what happens if the cops come out here again.
Look, I'm not raising Jackson in some unsafe environment or whatever Patti's lawyer calls it.
She will petition for sole custody and she'll get it.
You wanna lose Jax over some dog? No.
Later, buddy.
Can we do some actual legal work now? In Millwood, that was actual legal work.
Welcome home.
Hey.
- Are you getting any sleep? - I'm trying.
How is she? They're running all these tests.
Yes, I ordered a full work-up, just so we know what we're dealing with.
I didn't know she was sick.
- What kind of mother am I? - You're a great one.
I would know.
You practically raised me.
Hey [SOFT MUSIC] [KNOCKING] Come in.
What the hell are you doing here? I heard you were in here.
I wanted to come and see how you were doing.
About to get a giant needle plunged into my spine.
How do you think I'm doing? [SIGHING] You stayed in Millwood? - I did.
- Why? Did you hear of more kids to to screw out of their money or something? Not exactly.
I stayed to fight and I switched sides.
What does that mean? It means that we're on the same team, Taylor.
- I still don't trust you.
- That's fine.
You don't have to.
I'm your lawyer, not your friend.
- You're my lawyer? - Yes.
You and all the other girls.
Billy Crawford and I formed a partnership.
Why are you doing this? Because you told me I should stand up for you.
- And you listened? - You made a compelling argument.
Anyway I shouldn't keep you any longer.
I just wanted you to know that I am here if you need anything.
Hey You might not be as bad as I thought.
Thanks.
I think.
[RINGING] [SIGHING] - Hi.
- I've called you - 11 times.
- Well, I have been busy.
No one in Millwood is busy.
I got the materials that you sent me.
Yes.
I will have more for you soon.
You need to come home, Joanna.
I need a little bit more time.
The Firm can't take on an imaginary law suit, just to indulge your whims.
It's Not A Whim.
- This could be toxic exposure.
- Are you gonna argue Aldred's Case? You'd never prove causation.
That's what they said in Eldring Power v.
New Glasgow.
OK.
I'll bite.
Do you know where the toxins are coming from? Not yet.
[SIGHING] I'm worried about you, sweetheart.
Where's your sense of priority? You're better than this.
Take a day.
24 hours.
Poke around and then throw me a pitch that we can knock out of the park.
[SOFT MUSIC] It's frontal lobe abnormality.
There's been damage to the protective sheath around nerve fibers in the brain.
This damage can range from mild impairment to dementia.
Is this what's causing the symptoms? Could be a number of things.
A personality disorder, though that's very unlikely in this case.
It could also be brain impairment caused by a toxic chemical.
With teenagers, that usually points to inhalants.
No.
These girls aren't huffers.
One of them is my niece.
She's a jock.
Our homes are full of chemicals and teens find them.
The problem is inhalants are as addictive as any drugs, and can cause irreversible brain damage.
So you think these girls are doing this to themselves? Chemical damage explains the symptoms.
But you can't be sure if this is caused by drug use or not? You'd have to ask them.
- Well, that's progress.
- Right.
"Frontal lobe abnormalities.
" - It's music to my ears.
- It's information.
We're narrowing down what we're dealing with.
I'll get Molly to tell me the truth.
You can't just storm in there accusing them of things.
They'll clam up.
You have a better idea? It's a commonalities questionnaire.
- Is it a test? - There are no wrong answers.
- Sweet.
- We need to know all the things you do, products you use, places you go.
Uh do you mean everything? Yeah, everything.
- Is it protected by lawyer-client - Privilege? If it means you'll tell the truth, then yes, absolutely.
- And if you need help filling it in - I can do it.
[MACHINE BEEPING REPETITIVELY] They're letting they're letting me out today.
One last test.
I promise.
Hey, we just need information, OK? It doesn't matter what you've done.
I don't do drugs, Uncle Billy.
I used to like to stand beside my father when he pumped gas.
Whipped cream has nitrous oxide.
My mom had to stop buying it.
Only two of these girls have admitted to using inhalants, and all that means is we can rule it out.
It wasn't Molly.
If you use nail polish often enough, that can mimic an inhalant.
Yeah, Molly doesn't really paint her nails.
All these girls use different make-up, different shampoos.
Their parents use different household cleaners.
The only thing they have in common is the fact that they are girls and that they go to school.
The school was the first place I checked.
The environmental records were spotless.
It has to be the school.
Then why would it just affect the girls? I'm telling you air, heat, water, they all came back clean.
What about the girls locker room? Billy! Answer your damn phone.
- Give me a second.
- Yeah.
[DOOR BELL JINGLING] You can't let them send me to jail, Billy.
John, what happened? The first thing you need to know is that I did not do this.
OK.
OK, relax.
We'll we'll figure this out.
This is just what we need.
- Don't worry.
I'll sort it out.
- He killed a dog.
- He says he didn't do it.
- You believe him? He's my friend.
- And my client.
- We don't have time for this.
He could lose his kid.
And he should've thought of that before he killed the dog.
All right.
What do you want me to do? We have to go doublecheck the school.
We have 24 hours to figure this out.
What are you talking about? We have to pitch my firm on this tomorrow.
- That's not enough time.
- Well, it's all the time I have.
So you can go with him, but I have work to do.
[TENSE MUSIC] I'll be fine by next week.
I can't I can't miss regionals.
You know your body best.
It's Jackson High.
[DOOR OPENING] Time to go home.
I can walk.
They do this for everyone.
So if you find what you're looking for, you're gonna sue the school? Not the school.
The government that runs the school.
- Sounds like the same thing.
- It's not.
Ms.
Evans? - Can I speak to you? - Is it an emergency? No, it's it can totally wait.
OK.
Meet me in my office after school.
OK, Allie? OK.
I bring my kids to the gym on the weekend when it's raining.
Sarah always complained about the smell.
Did they send someone to check it out? Was it a certified microbial investigator? It was probably an unemployed plumber.
This school's barely staying open as it is.
I saw a brandnew athletic field out back.
Yeah.
That's boys sports.
The guys get a new turf field and we get the old cow pasture.
Life ain't fair.
This place hasn't changed at all.
Here it is.
My kids shower here.
Are they gonna get sick? People react to substances in different ways.
Could be a genetic predisposition, a hormonal reaction or an underlying condition.
So maybe.
We don't know that this caused it.
[SIGHING] Mould would likely show up in the lungs first.
But we'll have this tested anyway.
The hardest thing with cases like this is having to prove that this caused the twitching.
If we can't prove that, then we don't have a case.
Ms.
Evans? I don't think it can wait, actually.
It keeps happening.
- I can't make it stop.
- OK.
OK.
Allie was in my office a couple of days ago, totally fine.
She was so scared.
We were just doing applications to art school in New York.
There's an explanation.
Things like this don't just happen out of nowhere.
How does she paint now? It doesn't mean she's not gonna get better, go to New York.
I've known these kids since they were little, and now I'm watching their lives fall apart.
You feel helpless.
It's so weird, being back here like this.
Everywhere I look, something just seems off.
Last time I was here, I was those girls' age.
We were.
And here we are now, the grownups.
How did that happen? I got married.
Had two kids.
Became the guidance counsellor at the school I used to go to.
Got divorced.
And you Went to law school.
What about the rest of the 17 years since you've been gone? I'm glad you came back, Joanna.
Yeah.
I think I am too.
So what do we do now? I'm gonna go talk to Billy and see if he's dug up anything new about the girls.
Owen, he didn't kill the dog.
He's driving around with it in the back of his truck.
How many times have you threatened to kill him? I never meant it.
It's just it's something you say.
OK, John, just tell him exactly what you told me.
I found him dying on my front lawn.
I tried to rescue him.
You're gonna have to do better than that.
OK, you said that this morning, Rocky was barking.
He barks all day, every day.
Yes, but you said that this morning was different.
You saw him get off chain, start running around.
You said he seemed crazy.
Yeah, like he was on meth or something.
- Then you saw him run towards the farm.
- Southvale Farms? That's right.
He could still hear him barking.
Probably driving the cows nuts.
From my porch, I could see him tearing across towards the school, zig-zagging everywhere.
An hour later, you saw him come out from the trees by the school.
You said he was shaking, panting, foaming at the mouth.
Then he just keeled over.
I put him in my truck.
I was trying to take him to the vet.
He was alive when I put him in my truck.
See? Just a misunderstanding.
He was trying to do the right thing.
You ever go over to Southvale? We share a fence.
Southvale got big after it was sold.
Big corporate operation right on your doorstep.
Maybe you don't like the noise, the smell.
- What are you talking about? - Foaming at the mouth, disoriented, tremors.
A bunch of cows at Southvale died the same way.
What, you got a problem with them too? Look, my client didn't do anything wrong.
I didn't kill any cows, and I didn't kill the dog.
Then how do you explain everything around you that's living seems to be dying? I gotta move on this, Billy.
Look, if you arrest him, he'll lose custody.
Just give him a chance.
Yeah, I think we're all out of chances.
You know what? Let me look into Southvale, all right? Just give me 24 hours.
Owen, please.
You got one day, Billy.
That's it.
[DOOR BELL JINGLING] Joanna, it's me.
Can you meet me at Southvale Farms? [MOOING] [BIRDS CHIRPING] It's been an awful year.
I'm not gonna pretend otherwise.
I know these cows better than I know myself, but they kept getting sick and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why.
You lost six this year? We noticed we were going through a lot less feed.
You want your cows to fatten up and they were losing weight.
And then, the loss of balance.
Motor control.
- Mad cow? - That's what we thought.
We tested.
Negative.
The company writes it off as spillage, but I'm the one that has to watch them die.
The police think someone's been poisoning them? When there were sick cows, I suspected a competitor but none of our animals calved this year.
- No pregnancies? - All stillborn.
I used to play with Amy McEwan on this farm after school.
It was nothing but cow pasture back then.
- [WHISTLE BLOWING] - [INDISTINCT SHOUTING] [DRAMATIC MUSIC] [WHISTLE BLOWING] [INDISTINCT SHOUTING] - Everybody off the field! - Get off the field! - [WHISTLE BLOWING REPEATEDLY] - Everybody off the field! - Get off the field! - Get off the field now! [INDISTINCT SHOUTING] [CRICKETS CHIRPING] The field floods when it rains and the girls play there every day.
Do you know where it's coming from? That We don't know yet.
You don't know yet? - It is a huge breakthrough.
- They knew every chemical that was dumped in the Love Canal.
40 years later, they're still litigating it.
Yeah.
I won't let that happen.
Denials, appeals, retrials.
You turn around and you're 60 and that's been your entire career.
You really want to throw it all away for millwood? I grew up here, Dad.
You're too sentimental.
It clouds your judgment.
Dad, what happened here? What are you talking about? A woman punched me in the face.
What? Yeah.
Either because i'm your daughter or because i'm a lawyer.
Maybe both.
Look, when you're a tough negotiator, You make a lot of enemies.
I'm sorry, honey.
No.
There's something you're not telling me.
She asked if i was your daughter.
Why do I feel like I'm being interrogated here? - You're not.
- I'll tell you one thing.
Your mother never fit in there.
Small town, small minds.
You should get working.
You have to pitch me tomorrow.
I'll try and keep an open mind.
Goodbye.
[JOANNA SIGHING] Is it really in our field? We sent a sample to the lab.
They're testing it now.
The school did this? We did this? We'll know more once we get the results.
And it doesn't mean the school's at fault.
The field was a part of the farm.
They donated it.
[DIANE SIGHING] I talked to Allie's dad.
He's taking her to the hospital to get all the same tests as the other girls.
The dog owner wants to press charges.
- Owen - I got a neighbour dispute, dead animal, poisons in his truck Hi, Diane.
Haven't seen you in a while.
Always at work, I guess.
- Me too.
- He can't go to jail.
- He would lose Jax.
- Then give me something.
I'll let you get back to work.
Say hi to Derek for me.
They're not together anymore.
Sorry to hear that.
Ed Magnus said that Southvale referred to the dead cows as "spillage.
" The only farms who consider dead cows spillage Have very deep pockets.
My favourite kind.
What time does City Hall open in the morning? Long after our pitch but I have a guy.
That's everything on Southvale Farms.
Hey, I really appreciate this, Kevin.
Nothing says thank you like a case of beer.
- Need anything else? - Nah, we're good.
All right.
I'm going back to bed.
Goodnight.
All right.
Has Southvale ever been cited for using illegal substances? Banned pesticides? If there were any violations, they'd be in these files.
[TENSE MUSIC] Hey Southvale Farms is a small operation here in Millwood, but it's a subsidiary of Vickerton Foods.
Annual earnings of over $600 million.
- Ooh! - The soil sample from the field came back positive for 16 chemical compounds.
The highest concentration is for benzene.
What's that? Benzene is the sweet-smelling part in gasoline.
Farms use a lot of gasoline.
OK.
Um the farm had a spill and it was too costly to clean up, so they donated the land to the school.
It would explain our symptoms.
If the chemical was coming up from the soil, then girls were huffing just in gym class.
They donated toxic land to a school.
And got a huge tax break.
Ahem.
OK.
Benzene's only 0.
6% of gasoline.
So there would've had to have been a massive spill to have these levels.
Farms don't have that much fuel.
If the spill didn't come from Southvale, then it must have traveled there in the groundwater from somewhere.
OK.
Factory.
Dry cleaner.
Fuel storage.
There's a commercial dry cleaner in the industrial park.
They do pretty big business.
What about manufacturers? McMahon Rubber.
They make tires.
And the steel mill.
Well, that's three potential good defendants.
Yeah, that's two too many.
[SIGHING] Hey.
You ready? Yeah, I couldn't sleep either.
Meet me on Main Street.
Bring coffee.
The chemical is in the soil.
All the girls used the field.
Your firm has to see the potential.
My firm doesn't do potential.
They want minimum risk and maximum reward.
We don't have a defendant.
We don't have causation.
Even the most straightforward case takes a lifetime.
When people you love are sick, you can't worry how long the fight's gonna take.
You just you just have to start throwing punches.
"Throwing punches" That's the Billy Crawford I remember.
Well, I can't change completely.
You know, I didn't come right back after law school.
Just in case you thought I couldn't hack it in the city.
I didn't.
I summered at Ross McCann.
- That's a good firm.
- It's a big firm.
You could have done well there.
They held these seminars for the first year associates to make us better lawyers.
One of them was in wine tasting.
We did that one too.
They taught us how to swirl the glass to open it up.
Stick our noses right in and sniff.
That was the beginning of the end.
I came back here.
If you believe in this, Joanna so will they.
Good morning, Ms.
Hanley, Mr Crawford.
William Crawford.
- You're Hanks' boy? - Yes, sir.
Well, looks like you defied the odds, son.
Ok, then.
Why don't you tell us about this little case? With a minimal investment from Carver Thatcher Stokes, we will tie the chemicals in the soil to one of the deep- pocketed corporate entities in town; We'll establish a causal nexus between the chemical and the harm suffered by the girls; And we will negotiate a substantial settlement.
Our firm, of course, will receive one-third of that fee.
Very impressive.
You've given us a lot to think about.
Just one more thing.
Tell them about Molly.
My sister's kid Molly, she's a star athlete.
Even when she was little, you'd just hand her a ball and she knew what to do.
Soccer's her best sport and she already has three letters of interest from Division II schools.
She wants to study sports medicine, help other athletes with her hands.
The thing is she can't really use her hands any more.
She's having trouble with basic motor functions, and and it's getting worse.
Sorry.
I'm sorry.
Those are our victims, and that is who the jury will see.
All right.
Well, we'll discuss it internally and give you an answer shortly, but good work all around.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
That was good, right? I guess now we wait.
And sleep.
You have a client who's been accused of a terrible crime and may lose his kid.
Wow.
That's a whole lot of empathy, Hanley.
Don't tell anyone.
According to the vet, the dog died of acute benzene poisoning.
That is the same substance we found in the soil at the school.
- That's what killed him.
- Look.
Did I love Rocky? Definitely not.
But I'd never kill him.
He died from the soil around the school and the farm.
It's called hydrocarbon toxicosis.
Symptoms include: Rapid heartbeat, confusion, foaming at the mouth, convulsions and death.
Chemical comes up from the soil after a rain.
Dogs are low-lying and vulnerable, just like cows.
I know I'm not your favourite guy, that I shoot my mouth off, but I'm not, like, the Millwood poisoner.
You know how hard John's worked to get his reputation back.
None of us are the same guys we were in high school.
Don't charge him.
What do you think? We did find high levels of benzene in the ground around the school.
- So, you don't think he did it? - It explains the symptoms.
That's reasonable doubt.
You'll never get a conviction.
It doesn't mean that he's innocent.
- I'm gonna keep my eyes on you.
- Yeah.
You and everyone else.
Owen Thank you.
Yeah.
His opinion really matters to you.
This case is bigger than we thought.
CTS has the resources.
We need them on this.
Sure, but his opinion always mattered to you.
Obviously.
He's my father.
Looking back, did you ever think it was weird, how fast you left here? Dad got an offer he couldn't pass up.
In the middle of the night? Same thing happened in Winnipeg.
When David Hanley's done with a place Best to keep moving I guess.
Any idea what happened there? No I mean, like everybody else, I heard rumours.
What have you heard about my dad? Nothing substantiated.
The reason why they took his name off the library? - You'd have to ask him that.
- I did.
And He said lawyers make enemies.
I'm sure he's not wrong there.
But it seems like it's more than that.
Listen, Joanna.
It's all hearsay.
Very good, Counsellor.
You know how small towns are.
Right "Small towns.
" I should get to work.
Thanks for the coffee.
I've lived on that field.
You're all connected to it.
It explains why it's just the girls.
Sports made me sick? I know.
[MOLLY SIGHING] So if we So if we stay off the field, will we get better? I hope so.
Just one thing at a time.
Mom'll be happy.
She can blame it on me.
- She's not gonna blame you.
- She hates sports.
You need to ease up on her.
Yeah, your mom hates sports, but she's come to every one of your games.
She's learned all the rules.
She still doesn't understand offsides.
Nobody understands offsides.
Look, she did her best with you.
And me.
She has only ever tried to protect you.
I'm supposed to graduate this year.
I have plans.
You're still gonna do those plans, you just you might have to adjust the timeline.
[SIGHING] Did you order? No.
I can't eat.
So your father, he was in his late 30s when he left Millwood? Yet he still became senior partner at CTS.
How? He always gets what he wants.
[RINGING] Hi.
We're passing, sweetheart.
It's not there yet.
We need something with a greater likelihood of success.
Then give us more time.
The Court of Appeals in Smith v.
Nickel makes the environmental class action virtually unwinnable.
We have a better case than that.
This isn't about property values.
It's about sick girls.
The firm can't allocate assets for a couple of twitching girls.
There are 5 girls and there could be 10 by tomorrow.
Joanna, I said no.
I'm building a case here.
Twitching girls, dead cows, poison in the fields.
You're not making any sense.
It's enough.
Now, come home.
[SOFT MUSIC] No.
By my calculation, I have 13 weeks paid vacation.
What are you talking about? I'm taking it now.
We're gonna have to start with all the companies in town who use or have used the chemical.
And we're gonna need experts: A geologist, a hydrologist.
That doesn't sound cheap.
We'll make do without my firm's resources or their money.
Well, I'm happy for the help.
I have savings.
Joanna, you said this case was unwinnable.
That you'd have to be stupid or crazy to take it.
I was wrong.
[CAR DOOR CLOSING] Oh, no.
I can't believe that this is where the firm put you up.
Hey, this is luxury in Millwood.
[ALAN CHUCKLING] - Oh, my God.
What happened? - Does it make me look tough? It does, actually.
Did you get hit? Yeah.
A stranger punched me at a bar.
- What?! - I broke my promise to my dad to not get into any bar fights.
What are you doing here, Alan? I don't know.
I just wanted to come and see you.
I missed you.
I was worried about you.
Is that OK? Well, you must have been worried to come to a town that doesn't have a drive-thru dry cleaners.
Ah, it's one night.
I'll survive.
Come home with me.
Alan.
Look, I know things haven't always been perfect, but nobody can beat us.
It's not what I want.
What do you want? I don't know, but but I know that that's not the life that I want anymore.
Right.
OK.
Then let's go home together and figure it out.
OK? Let's get out of here.
I'll buy you breakfast.
They booked us on the first flight out of here.
"They" booked us? "They?" "They" booked us? Sorry? He sent you.
- What are you talking about? - My father sent you here to bring me home.
I mean, I was coming here anyway No.
Get out.
Get out.
Jo think about what you're throwing away.
And for what? I mean, for this small town that clearly doesn't want you? - You need to leave, right now.
- Jo Get out! [SOFT MUSIC] Tell me where we're going tonight Home is better than wandering in our heads We tried everything to save our love - [INAUDIBLE SPEAKING] - The best was always Waiting to come Do you feel a little broken? Do you feel a little Broken? Do you feel a little broken? Do you feel a little broken?