Taylor Adkins Scholarship Winning Essay

I am 39 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I have spent most of my pregnancy inside of my city loft with beautiful white walls. The railing on my balcony is painted the same white color, along with my kitchen cabinets. The year is 2018, and right now, me and my baby have no negative health effects. If I was to go back in time to the year my father was born, 1968, and lived in the same environment something would be tragically different. All the white paint would contain dangerous lead concentrations because I am living in an urban environment. The lead industry would blame my child’s mental complications on being in the city instead of the health implications of their ingredients of their product. They would even go as far as marketing their paint to children knowing it would make them sick, and this was all legal because causation at the time could not be proven. The civil justice system comes to citizens’ defense in these grey areas. It holds agencies and companies responsible for the health and wellbeing of the population when prison time cannot be determined. It forces individuals to be financially responsible and in some cases can be much more impactful than a prison sentence can ever be.


My baby is due October 4, 2018. I sit here glancing at my white walls grateful to be born in this day and age. I am grateful for eradication of DDT. I am grateful for the regulation of safe drinking water. I am grateful for the removal of asbestos. I am grateful for the food and drug administration to ensure my food is not tainted with harmful bacteria. These and many more things would not be possible without the civil justice system. My baby has not even taken his first breath, but he is one hundred percent influenced by the outside environment. One hundred years ago infant mortality in this country was at an all-time high. Technology and government agencies began to uncover health risks related to certain industries that could be avoided and saved countless lives by doing so. Whether it is a police officer who kills an unarmed black man or a water plant poisoning a community with excess levels of fluoride, the civil justice system holds these sectors accountable to ensure other agencies will think twice before acting in negligence.  


By holding both agencies and companies accountable regardless of incarceration time helps protect consumers from negligence. The civil justice system works to create substantial monetary settlements to display the importance in the protection of each and every citizen. Efforts have been made to punish companies if they delay payments. Plaintiffs must be compensated in a timely manner or interest penalties will be enacted. Reform has been done to enact early case management. Efforts are being made to give consumers a voice and display that every person matters and should be treated with duty and respect. Even though it is 2018, and lead paint is a thing of the past, there will always be another hazard. The civil justice system seeks to identify these hazards and works to eliminate them from the public sector. I am immensely thankful for this system because I have a healthy baby boy due to its progress. 

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