Brockovich, Erin - Summary

While working at a law firm which had once represented her (in a personal injury case), Erin Brockovich (played by Julia Roberts in the film), finds something highly unusual: medical records in a real estate file. She decides to follow-up.

As she digs deeper into the once-languishing file, she uncovers what ties real estate transactions to medical information. Pacific Gas & Electric, the world’s largest public utility, is buying up homes thought to be negatively impacted by pollution - then destroying them. The contamination, apparently, has been caused by PG&E’s waste-disposal practices.

At issue is a carcinogenic chemical called hexavalent chromium, known more simply as “chrome 6.” The company has detected the chemical in a monitoring well north of its compressor station in Hinkley, California.

Groundwater in the area flows north - toward the homes, and businesses, of PG&E’s neighbors (who use groundwater for drinking purposes). And those neighbors, at least some of them, are getting sick.

Erin Brockovich interviews many people, finds a way to get copies of incriminating records and discusses the whole situation with her law-firm boss, Ed Masry (Albert Finney). They decide to file a class-action lawsuit. It ultimately leads to a huge settlement - $333 million - for the area residents.

In this story behind the movie, meet the real Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry. Take a virtual trip to Hinkley to see the compressor station (and the area where it is located). Learn about groundwater, the hydrogeologic cycle, plumes of contamination - and how they all work together when cancer-causing chemicals are in their midst.

Visit Barstow, California (where Ed and Erin file the case), examine parts of the court’s file and meet the actual judges who help the parties resolve their differences.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jun 15, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Brockovich, Erin" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2000. Aug 16, 2018.
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