Home / Auto News / News article: "Mann Vs. Ford" HBO Documentary To Air At 9PM EST [Video] - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Jul 18 2011, 6:13 PM


In 1955, Ford built America’s largest auto plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, just up the river from New York City. And 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.

Now, Mann’s fight against Ford will be on an HBO documentary, entitled “Mann vs. Ford.” Directed by Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink, it will most likely remind viewers of “Erin Brockovich,” without the sassy female lead, as both films are based on true stories of devious corporate misconduct. If he poisoned 10 children, Mann said, he’d go to jail for life; if a corporation poisons hundreds of people, it will get away with it.

The documentary airs tonight at 9pm Eastern time to HBO suscribers. Click the jump to see a preview.

[Source: National Catholic Reporter]

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  • Jeff Stewart

    This is unbelievable! I’m going to watch this again, but if I understood correctly; this case was settled for a mere $11M to be split by 650 people, for an average of $8K per person? I can understand the suit filed against Ford; but the EPA has just as much, if not more culpability as Ford. Although, the Plantiffs stood a better chance of being compensated by Ford; there surely needs to be HUNDRED OF BILLIONS more in reparations owed to this community. I suspect that the devastation of this community, will gradually spread to the general area/region of New Jersey and other parts of the country where similar improprieties exist? This is a travisty. What can we/I do to help this cause? Very Sincerely, Jeff Stewart

  • heavynumbertaco

    And ya know what’s even sadder,Mr.Stewart. The part near the end where they say “after costs and lawyer fees”. So basically the only people who were fairly compensated for this travisty were the attorneys.
    If I’m not mistaken,class action suits usually pay the lawyers 25% of the common fund awarded. So right around $3,125,000 bucks was divided amongst the lawyers.
    I’m not saying lawyers should work for free,but in a case like this and if you’re going to believe Vicki Gilliam’s sticky sweet schpeel,maybe they should have taken home a couple hundred grand each. They could have given the rest to those poor people fighting the horrific diseases they’re plagued with. Or,heaven forbid,do it pro bono.That happens in the world too.
    Basically,Vicki Gilliam and her crew of lawyers are right there with Ford Motor Co. when it comes to those numbers on pieces of paper she was talking about.She’s thinking about one thing,just like Ford and just like she said in the film,the bottom line

  • Danielle

    This was a great documentary. A little hard to see family members who have passed away. Years ago no one knew what might be making people ill, and to see people sitting and listening to scientists tell them the reason they were dying. Unfortunately, the settlement was reached because Ford’s stock went down considerably, and at the time, people needed to make a decision. The people’s concern is that this area be cleaned up. This is owed to the community, and should take place correctly and swiftly.

  • dhb613

    heavynumbertaco: it was estimated that the attorneys for the Ramapough community spent between 2 million and 4 million in their investigation. “Or,heaven forbid,do it pro bono…” PLEASE! What world do you live in? The only way settlements like this are reached is when someone puts up the money to do the investigation. So you can blast the lawyers fees all you want- but she took up the good fight! Its such a heart breaking set of circumstances, most of all, the timing of the case in conjuction with the economy of 2009- which you can see coming from a mile away- yet you continue to hope against all odds that things work out differnetly- the Erin Borckovich ending- which doesnt often happen. It reminds me more of A Civil Action.

  • Rae DeGroat

    We would like to thank all of you who have watched. My family and I have been fighting this on-going battle since I can remember. I’m only 29yrs old and have had strange viruses myself that til this day still have not gone away. Most of us still have yet to see any of this money that we were promised. Including Ford’s intentions of cleaning up and making our home livable and clean as it should be. In the video above you see some of us in a field. That is where we hold our annual Native American Pow Wow’s. We aren’t known as Ramapough Indians. We are known as Wanapi (won-ah-pee) Indians. The field is straight across from The Ringwood Manor. The Ringwood Manor was home to our 1st President of the United States during the American Revolution when he was still a General. Not yet our President. His geographer Robert Erskine later owned the estate after we won the American Revolution War. That is were the “Mine Area” comes in. Everything you want to know is right here: http://www.ringwoodmanor.com/history/hist.htm http://www.ringwoodmanor.com/ There is a cemetery about a mile or so on the other side of the field. You can kind of see it from the main road. Robert Erskine and the 4,000+ French soldiers are buried in unmarked graves. Robert Erskine, however, has a very nice and often restored raised grave along with the other previous owners of the estate. Oddly enough, each owner of the estate has a school named after them and we have all attended. For many, many, MANY years my friends and family in the area were complaining about the sinkholes in their yard and their worries about their homes collapsing when and if the holes got bigger. And that isn’t compared to the stench that seeps through the ground which is obviously toxic. The stench is even in our homes via the plumbing. Taking a shower is risky business hence our health. Whatever the stench is, we bathe in it, brush our teeth with it, wash our clothes in it, etc. I know what everyone is thinking. “Why not sell and/or move?!” The answer is simple. We don’t have the money nor the strength. I put that same question to you. If you do or did have the money to do so, would you give up your home and desert that part of the earth that should be clean? We’re not sure if our home is radioactive but we’re starting to think so… If that’s the case, it should’ve been quarantined almost a century ago and taken care of then. But of course not! This is the exact fight we have been trying to prove. This is the fight that we’re going to keep on fighting for as long as we can. All we really want is a better atmosphere, better air, better health and better earth. It does seem like we’re going through the “Erin Brockovich” movie but we weren’t told that this is good for us. This was just tossed our way, forgotten and kept under the cuff. If you would like to help us all you gotta do is fight with us. Help us in our fight to get our home cleaned up and our health to where it should be. That’s all we ask. We don’t want anybody’s money except for the government’s who started this in the 1st place. Your constant letters is an excellent place to start. Again, thank you for watching. God bless-

  • Frank

    just saw the documentary Any big company wiuth an attitude like that should be run out of town put out of businessThey should come good for what they have done but all theses big rich executives lie to line their pockets. Good job on lying Sure the economy went down but they have a moral and financial responsibilty.I will never support them. All these companies will get what they deserveDo wrong it will catch up to them

  • Warren Ingram

    Ford should be bankrupt!These people should have gotten 100′s of Millions of Dollars!

  • Charlie Schlag

    I just finished watching this HBO documentary and I am sickened beyond belief at what has happened to you guys. I grew up in Cupsaw and went to school with many of you (Hewitt, Ryerson & Lakeland), including Mickey Van Dunk, who I barely recognize as he used to be one of the biggest kids in school! I was totally unaware of all of this going on but Ford obviously knew, the EPA knew and the State and the governemnt all knew too and they should all be held accountable for their gross negligence! Ford did not pay you 1/100 of what you deserve for all of your mental anguish and physical suffering! Hopefully things will be done that should’ve been done decades ago now that your story has been told. Keep up the fight-you all have my full support!

  • Charlie Schlag

    The entire time during this lawsuit Ford claimed they were going to go bankrupt. Then those greedy bastards posted profits of 2.7 billion the year after the settlement and then profits of 7.7 billion in 2010 (their highest profit in 11 years!) They are a bunch of liars and the ultimate epitome of corportate greed that is ruining this country! The Wu Tang Clan had it right-Cash Rules Everything Around Me (CREAM)!

  • Stephanie Evans

    I do believe that people should be helped in this tragic instance. I believe that they should get medical bills paid for right from the git go. This is one thing that the wonderful government we have should put into law that if something is proven to be the factor to the ailments the companies should pay no matter what. As far as some of the law suits this also has gone way to far because today EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD is just too sue happy. For Gods sake someone wins a law suit suing McDonald’s because the coffee burnt them. Are the freaking nuts. You just bought a hot cup of coffee are you that freaking dumb you drink it right away? This suing is more of the down fall of many business’s and the ruin of this country. Its not just the government the cause. You are all sitting here bashing the Ford Company yet they are the ones who didn’t get bail out money from the government. Those other companies are sitting pretty still owing the government money and yet saying because we have had a great year we are going to give back to the consumer. How about giving the money back to the government so they don’t have to take the poor peoples money on social security away. This is something that should never happen. People paid into this so they would have it later in life and what is was made for. It was not made for the government to use it for anything else but they did and they never put that money back and now they want to stop sending people their checks. So all of you think long and hard about these issues with the importance of no being SUE HAPPY. Pretty soon there will be no one to sue and more people living on the streets with nothing because the government has taken what was theirs and they can’t pay their bills. If you really think that Ford wanted to go bankrupt your nuts because if they had to they would have taken money from the government and yet they didn’t. They worked hard to figure out ways to keep them going and trying their best not to hurt so many in the long run. ALSO REMEMBER THIS we the people have made business’s like Ford and other companies to dwindle people we all wanted what was less expensive and bought all those foreign products. So every time you buy a foreign made item think about the american person who lost their job because of this.

  • Azzura

    I ignored this program only because I was unaware f its description. Today I watched it by means of luck and fought thru tears. Its sad that Ford would allow harm to happen to human life. It makes me wander how safe is a Ford product. If this has happen else where and they just havent been caught, yet. Its ashame one could sit back and profit off of anothers death and illness. This is true hatred at its best and whats worst is that not one soul at Ford is human enough to stand up and take responsibilty. Do you want to keep supporting a company that has little care about humanity? How is it a company gets to decide whose life to harm? Its bout race, poverty, money, and health. Its about owning up to your wrong and began to make better. I support the cause for better and wish to know how I may begin standing beside you to fight.

  • Rochelle

    I saw this today, it was reprehensible. There is no way anyone can defend the Ford company to me now, I was appalled. Go back to sleep Stephanie Evans this is nothing like a cup of coffee at all.

  • steve

    The situation and details presented in Mann vs Ford unfortunately didn’t surprise me. I read it all in the book and the film a Civil Action with John Travolta.What really dismays me is that little, if anything has changed. The problem is not that the nation is suit-happy; but more a question of how can the right conditions be created to ensure that justice works for all of us.It’s unconscionable that a judicial system can produce a verdict that offers an average settlement of 8000 to people that have suffered horribly, died prematurely, and face a dismal future. Ford and other corporations will always have the resources totake its case to the courtroom where the same battle will be fought.People who are most in need of justice will again be badly mismatched.From where will justice come? This should be the central question that is discussed.And the answer is the Federal Government. The discussion needs to be framed not is the federal government too big or too small, but how can we make it more effective? After all, the EPA is part of a smooth functional system of government.

  • Frank

    Does anyone even remember that Ford was taken to court for patent infringment and the engineer that developed the wiper system ended up taking on Ford himself in court and was awarded a huge settlement Why couldn’t they have gotten a huge settlement from Ford Makes me puke Dirty I have no use for Ford

  • Bunnie
  • bobbyd

    What a terrible one sided view from HBO. Ringwood authorizes the building of 50 homes DIRECTLY on top of the waste site 25 years after Ford legally dumped their sludge and then 10 years later homeowners start complaining. What do you expect to happen if you live DIRECTLY on top of a toxic waste site? Dah! Of course that wasn’t mentioned..nor was it mentioned about the developer in 1994 who bulldozed and plowed thru all the waste to build the homes and redirect the storm water and waste. Hmmm, can’t sue the developer because they have no money. Look at the scum lawyers, Kennedy Jr (arrested in 1983 for heroin but given only probation). Look at the producer, Redford , who refused to include any of Fords defense comments…since it would hurt their bias agenda. Lets be fair and balanced…NOT! Did HBO explain how the lawyers told their clients they would all be millionaires if they promoted their ailments…including diabetes and headaches. Nope! That would hurt the effect of the propaganda. Bottomline, I was shocked about the allegations, but after reading both sides of the story…its Ringwood’s fault for allowing the developer to plow and disrupt all the waste. Remember, the only complainers are those 50 new homeowners who got low cost approval to build on the site 20 years after Ford left!

  • bobbyd

    If you want to read some very interesting info that the HBO film failed to reveal…please go to this site….(ringwoodsite update.com)….it sure gave me info that was deliberately left out of the film, since it would have contradicted their agenda. Please take the time to read the other side of the story.

  • NoAgenda

    bobbyd said it all.

    Typical one-sided story in this doco-drama. 1/2 truths. Sad that the story had to be told like this.

  • keith swayne

    stephanie evans, you have no idea what you are talking about! what do you propose people that have been wronged do? just sit back and accumulate medical bills through no fault of their own? just wait to die? these people have sickness and injuries that will be with them the rest of their lives. how do you suggest they pay for this constant medical care? it must be nice to live in your make believe world.

  • JH

    Kudos to bobbyd for not buying the one-sided version of this tragedy that was portrayed in the film. I’m with you here. This film fails to mention that this area had been used for dumping BEFORE Ford got there and it was approved by Ringwood itself. Go read the independent survey documents on ringwoodsiteupdate.com. You will see that dumping of stuff has been going on for years and it is far and wide.

  • kristle mann

    To be honest with you don’t know what my family went thought it was tough on everybody in my family and to see you guys talking about them makes me very upset cause that’s my family ya talking about im sorry but ford deserved it they should had never done that and i wish that ford never done that and my little cousins my aunts and uncles died cause of ford dumping waste and they all died from cancer until your family goes though what my family went though just be quiet it hurt me cause im fourteen growing up without knowuing my family that died at a young age and that was hard enough so plzz stop talking about my family intil you know what its like to go though this its wrong talk about someones family n this does not go for everyone just some.

  • Danielle

    SOOOO glad I don’t drive a Ford!