Robert Bilott is the 58 years old attorney who has earned the title of DuPont’s worst nightmare. He is the subject on which the hit movie Dark Waters is based. Billot became an inspiration for standing up against the huge chemical company DuPont to protect the locals of West Virginia and Ohio from the chemicals dumped in their neighbourhood.
Bilott fought against DuPont for twenty years. He poured his time, effort and even his mental well being for the people who were suffering from the side effects of having chemicals like PFOA. These chemicals were not only killing the cattle but also affecting the health of the locals.
|Date of birth
|August 25, 1994
|58 years old
|Place of birth
|Albany, New York, USA
|Teddy Bilott, Charlie Bilott and
|15 Million USD
|5.3 ft (162cm)
Robert Bilott Net Worth and Income
Bilott has been active as an attorney ever since his graduation. In the past, he represented big chemical companies and earned a lot. Now, though he has changed his motive of working, he still has a hefty income from his popularity.
Bilott has a whopping amount of 15 Million USD as his net worth.
Robert Bilott Personal Life: Family, Parents, & Early Life
The courageous attorney was born in Albany to his US Air force officer father. Though not much is out about his parents, he has shared that he had a working-class family. He also shared that his family moved from one place to another because of his father.
Maybe it was because of being raised in a household where helping others and serving the nation was important Bilott was interested in studying law.
He graduated from a law college with a Juris Doctor degree and started working as an attorney in Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.
In the firm, he represented many chemical companies. However, this changed after he met Wilbur Tennant, a farmer in Parkersburg.
Tennant was the brother of Jim, an employee of Bilott. When Bilott found out that Jim was sick and the doctors could not diagnose what was wrong, he became curious about the condition Jim was living.
It was how Bilott met Tennant. Tennant shared with Bilott that his cattle were dying, and even the local people were suffering. He even sent a video to Bilott, showing locals suffering from the blackening of teeth.
Bilott was always a man of decency and commitment, so he could not stay still after knowing this. He decided to bring DuPont to the court. Initially, he represented only Tennant, but with time, he became the attorney of 70,000 locals.
He fought a twenty-year-long legal battle against DuPont, which was so hard that it even took a toll on his mental heart. During the case, Bilott even started feeling stroke-like attacks. When he got checked up, the doctors suggested MRI, which then showed an unusual brain activity.
Even after this, Bilott never gave up on the case. When asked what motivated him to keep going, Billot credits Tennant, who did not settle for money but continued to fight for a great cause.
At first, it was only Bilott and the locals of West Virginia, but later even the locals of Ohio joined them, and together they presented a drinking water sample in the court. It had PFAO, which was the same chemical dumped by DuPont in the nearby areas.
It turned the case in their favor and brought DuPont on its knee. The company then accepted its shortcomings and settled with money and with filter plants in the affected area.
However, there were many casualties, so the settlement kept going for a longer time. By 2024, the settlement reached 4 Billion USD.
Though it took a long time, Bilott gave a safe locality for the people of West Virginia and Ohio to live. For this, Bilott is considered no less than a national hero.
Even though the case with DuPont has settled, Bilott has not stopped working for the people of the environment. He still works in the litigation department, in its environmental practice area.
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Robert Bilott Wife Sarah Barlage
Bilott had been married to his wife, Sarah Barlage, an attorney just like him. The couple was pronounced husband and wife in 1996, and since then, they have been together for more than twenty-five years.
Like Bilott, Barlage is also an attorney. She used to represent the big companies in cases that involved compensations of their workers. But she quit her work in the middle to look after her three sons with Bilott.
However, when the boys were all grown up, Barlage returned to work, but this time instead of working for big companies, she joined a non-profit organization called ProKids.
Education and Degree
The international attorney, Bilott, is an educated man with great degrees.
He did his schooling in Fairborn, Ohio, from Fairborn High School. Before graduating from Fairborn high school, Bilott changed schools eight times because of his father.
When he completed high school, he moved to Sarasota in Florida to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and urban studies from the New College of Florida.
After getting a Bachelor of Arts degree, he enrolled in the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. He pursued his Juris Doctor degree there.
Career as Attorney and the Case Against DuPont
Bilott started his career after getting his Juris Doctor degree. He joined Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP after being part of the bar in 1990.
Initially, he worked as an attorney, but later, he became a partner in the same firm. During his earlier days at work, he used to work for big chemical companies.
However, it all changed when he met a farmer from Parkersburg named Wilbur Tennant. Tennant shared how his cattle were dying due to the chemicals deposited in his locality.
After knowing this, Bilott decided to sue DuPont and brought it to court in 1999.
Though Bilott lost the case, he could not let the locals suffer, so he again filed it in 2001. This time he was not representing only Tennant but representing 70,000 locals of the West Virginia area.
In the second trial, he presented solid evidence which proved that the chemicals dumped by DuPont were ruining the whole area. He submitted a sample of the drinking water, which had PFOA, the same chemicals that DuPont dumped.
DuPont could not escape this time and chose to settle the case with compensations and provisions to mend the damages.
Even the settlement went for several years as every year more casualties started to come forward. It was still going on this year, with the settlement amount reaching 4 Billion USD.
Besides fighting against DuPont, Billot also was fighting other cases against other chemical companies. In 2018, he even filed against 3M, Chemours and other chemical companies who manufactured PFAS.
Bilott has not stopped his fight to save the environment as well as the people living in it. He still works as a partner in the environmental practice area of his firm.
Awards and Achievements
Bilott fought for a twenty-year-long legal battle for the people of West Virginia and Ohio, which makes him no less than a national hero.
For his contribution, he received the Alternative Nobel Prize, also known as the International Right Livelihood award.
Just this year, the New College of Florida awarded him with an honorary doctor of law degree.
Besides awards, Bilott also became the subject of movies and documentaries. Bilott and his fight got depicted in Dark Waters, The Devil We Know, and many more projects.
Bilott gathered attention only after the DuPont case, but he was already an ace in his field.
He was the Trial lawyer of the year in 2005. He was even named the lawyer of the year in Litigation twice in 2019 and 2024.