Erin Brockovich (née Pattee; born June 22, 1960) is a paralegal, consumer advocate, and environmental activist from the United States. In 1993, she worked with attorney Ed Masry to build a case against Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) involving groundwater contamination in Hinkley, California. The Oscar-winning movie Erin Brockovich (2000), starring Julia Roberts as Brockovich and Albert Finney as Masry, was based on their successful legal battle.
Since then, Erin Brockovich has also established herself as a media figure, anchoring the TV shows Final Justice on Zone Reality and Challenge America with Erin Brockovich on ABC. Brockovich Research & Consulting is led by her. She also serves as a consultant for Shine Lawyers in Australia and Weitz & Luxenberg in New York, both of which specialize in personal injury cases involving asbestos exposure. She served as a consultant for Girardi & Keese, a now-defunct California legal practice.
Erin Brockovich Early life
The daughter of journalist Betty Jo (née O’Neal; ca. 1923–2008) and industrial engineer and football player Frank Pattee (1924–2011), Brockovich was born Erin Pattee in Lawrence, Kansas. Frank Jr. and Thomas (1954–1992) are her two brothers, while Jodie is her sister. She completed her high school education at Lawrence High School before enrolling at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and earning an associate’s degree in applied arts from Wade College in Dallas, Texas. The dyslexic Brockovich.
Erin Brockovich Pacific Gas & Electric litigation
When she spoke out against PG&E in 1993 following her discovery of a widespread, inexplicable illness in the California hamlet of Hinkley, Brockovich became a whistleblower. She played a crucial role in the town’s lawsuit against the utility corporation. In the lawsuit Anderson, et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric, file BCV 00300, it was claimed that the town’s drinking water had been contaminated with hexavalent chromium, also known as “chromium 6,” “chromium VI,” “Cr-VI,” or “Cr-6.” The Hinkley compressor station, a building constructed in 1952 as part of a natural gas pipeline connecting to the San Francisco Bay Area, was at the core of the lawsuit.
Hexavalent chromium was utilized by PG&E in a cooling tower system to combat corrosion between 1952 and 1966. The waste water was dumped into open ponds on the property, and part of it seeped into the groundwater, having an impact on an area of around 2 square miles (5.2 km2) close to the facility. In 1968, the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) included the PG&E site to its scope of regulation.
The case was resolved in 1996 for a settlement of (US) $333 million, which at the time was the highest amount ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in American history. Of that settlement, Masry & Vititoe, the law office where Brockovich worked as a legal assistant, received $133.6 million, and Brockovich received $2.5 million as part of her fee.
The California Cancer Registry published a report in 2010 that said Hinkley’s cancer rates “remained unremarkable from 1988 to 2008”. The 196 cases of cancer documented during the most current survey from 1996 to 2008, according to epidemiologist John W. Morgan, were fewer than he anticipated given the study’s demographics and the regional cancer incidence. But in June 2013, Mother Jones magazine published a critique from the Center for Public Integrity of the author’s work on the later epidemiological studies, pointing out, for instance, that the affected Hinkley region had been bulldozed by 1996.
In Hinkley, average Cr-6 levels peaked in 2019 at above 1,000 parts per billion, which is 100 times the state of California’s allowable contaminant standard for the compound.
PG&E reported in 2021 that they had removed 70% of the pollution. Groundwater cleanups take 30 to 50 years to complete, according to an impartial expert tasked with overseeing the cleanup on behalf of the inhabitants.
The EPA declared Cr-6 to be probably harmful in drinking water in October 2022. An industry lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council, disagreed with their conclusion.
Erin Brockovich Other litigation
Brockovich continued to take part in anti-pollution cases while working with Thousand Oaks, California-based attorney Edward L. Masry. In Willits, California, the Whitman Corporation was accused of chromium contamination in one lawsuit. Another, with 1,200 plaintiffs, claimed contamination along the same pipeline as the Hinkley site, close to PG&E’s Kettleman Hills compressor station in Kings County, California. The Kettleman lawsuit was resolved in 2006 for $335 million.
Brockovich settled her lawsuit alleging hazardous mold in her Agoura Hills, California, house in 2003 after having issues with mold contamination in her own home in the Conejo Valley. She got settlements totaling $430,000 from two parties and an undisclosed sum from a third party. Brockovich later rose to prominence as a local activist and educator.
In a 2003 lawsuit brought by Brockovich and Masry, the Beverly Hills Unified School District was charged with endangering the health and safety of its pupils by permitting a contractor to run a number of oil wells on campus. 300 cancer cases, according to Brockovich and Masry, were connected to the oil wells. After more testing and epidemiological research came up empty, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Wendell Mortimer granted summary judgment to the defendants. The school district announced in May 2007 that it would get $450,000 as compensation for its legal costs.
In April 2009, Brockovich helped file a lawsuit against the St. Joseph, Missouri-based Prime Tanning Corp. According to the lawsuit, farmers in northwest Missouri were given waste sludge from the manufacture of leather that included high levels of hexavalent chromium to use as fertilizer on their fields. Around the Missouri town of Cameron, there have been an unusually high number of brain tumors, and this is thought to be one of the possible causes.
The EPA assessed the site prior to the lawsuit and concluded that there were “no detections of total chromium” at that time. The agency also stated that “we would like to get any specific information from this law firm as soon as we can so we can evaluate it, and we intend to ask for that directly.” Residents thought there to be a significant incidence of brain tumors in the area—more than 70 since 1996—and the EPA, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Health, and a state epidemiologist were looking into it. The figures did not appear to be particularly high, according to the epidemiologist.
Brockovich started looking into a Midland, Texas, incidence of tainted water in June 2009.More than 40 households in the vicinity had “significant amounts” of hexavalent chromium in their water, according to; some of these homes have since had state-monitored filters installed on their water supplies. The only difference between here and Hinkley, according to Brockovich, is that I observed higher levels here than I did in Hinkley.
In 2012, Brockovich was drawn into the puzzling case of 14 students from LeRoy, New York, who started exhibiting puzzling medical symptoms, such as tics and speech issues. Brockovich conducted tests there because she thought the 1970 Lehigh Valley Railroad crash was to blame for the environmental damage. Although Brockovich was due to return to LeRoy to discuss her results, she never did. In the interim, the students’ doctors came to the conclusion that the sickness was a mass psychogenic illness, with the symptoms being exacerbated by media exposure. Repeat testing revealed no environmental effects, and after the media attention subsided, the students improved.
For a significant methane leak from Southern California Gas’ underground storage facility close to the Porter Ranch neighborhood, north of Los Angeles, Brockovich became involved in probable legal action in early 2016.
After the Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, 2023, Brockovich began receiving calls from the locals asking for help with the hazardous chemical fires. She has been included in interviews on a range of news platforms, including independent media and major networks. A few weeks later, Brockovich made a trip to East Palestine, where she spoke with local journalists and made an appearance at a number of well-known town hall meetings on Friday, February 24. Brockovich and a lawyer emphasized decades of deadly chemical train derailments at the gathering.
One of Brockovich’s numerous worries is that chemicals may have gotten into the groundwater after being, as she puts it, deposited in a large hole and burned off. She frequently discusses how the country has delayed necessary infrastructure upgrades, stricter regulations, and better response to safeguard communities’ health, safety, and welfare from long-term physical harm and environmental damage for decades in the name of profits over people.
Brockovich keeps bringing up the Lac-Megantic, Canada 2013 oil train disaster, the Hinkley case, and the Flint water issue.
Erin Brockovich Awards
Commencement speaker and honorary doctor of laws at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, in May 2005.
On May 5, 2007, at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, he was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters and spoke at the commencement.
Business communication honorary master’s degree from Jones International University in Centennial, Colorado.
Erin Brockovich Movies and television
Erin Brockovich, a 2000 drama film featuring Julia Roberts in the main role, focused on Brockovich’s efforts to file a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric. The movie received five Academy Award nominations: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Writing in a Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Roberts’ portrayal of Erin Brockovich earned her the Best Actress Oscar. Brockovich appeared in a cameo as Julia, a waiter.
In the 2012 film Last Call at the Oasis, which focused on both water contamination and the general issue of water shortage as it related to water policy in the United States, Brockovich played a more significant role.
Rebel, a TV show partially based on Brockovich’s life and created by Krista Vernoff, debuted on ABC on April 8th, 2021.
Erin Brockovich Books and articles
Take It from Me: Life’s a Struggle But You Can Win (ISBN 978-0071383790), Brockovich’s debut book, was released in 2001. On August 25, 2020, a follow-up book titled Superman’s Not Coming was published.
In 2021, Brockovich discussed the frightening rate at which hormone-disrupting substances (such PFAS) are degrading human fertility.
On February 8, 2022, Brockovich published a piece discussing the case of Steven Donziger, a lawyer who had won a $18 billion verdict against Chevron but had been imprisoned for contempt of court for refusing to turn over his phone and computer to Chevron’s legal counsel.
Erin Brockovich Hinkley and Hollywood
Brockovich was engaged in a serious vehicle accident shortly after her divorce, which required neck surgery. Then, she relocated to the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, where she was recommended by a friend to the legal team Masry & Vititoe, which she retained to represent her in her accident case. In the end, Brokovich received a modest settlement, but not enough to provide for her family. Ed Masry, an attorney at the business, offered her a position as a secretary in 1992 out of sympathy.
Brockovich discovered that the paperwork for a real estate lawsuit she was working on one day included blood samples from the utility corporation Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). She sought Masry for permission to look into the situation further once her suspicions were aroused. Brockovich later discovered evidence connecting a string of illnesses in the California desert town of Hinkley to high concentrations of hexavalent chromium in the water on her subsequent trips.
More than 600 hundred residents of the town hired Masry & Vititoe to represent them in 1993 after the pollution was eventually linked to the PG&E compressor facility in Hinkley. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the highest settlement in American history for a case of its sort, when facts came to light during the trial that revealed PG&E had been aware of the pollution and tried to hide it.
Brockovich was paid $2.5 million for her role in bringing the case to the firm. But because of the attention the case garnered, Danny DeVito’s production firm, Jersey Films, became aware of Brockovich and in 1995 purchased the rights to her memoir. After Brockovich wed Eric Ellis in 1999, Ellis eventually requested a divorce more than ten years later.
Erin Brockovich Movie Starring Julia Roberts
The movie Erin Brockovich, which was released in 2000, has Julia Roberts as Brockovich and Albert Finney as Masry in a largely factual account of the Hinkley lawsuit. Brockovich herself makes a brief cameo appearance in the film as a waiter. More than $250 million was made globally thanks to the film, which also received numerous Academy Award nominations. Roberts earned the Best Actress prize for her work as Brockovich.
Erin Brockovich Fame and Consumer Advocacy
Brockovich became well-known as a result of the movie’s popularity, and she has since utilized this renown for a variety of purposes. In addition to hosting the ABC special Challenge America with Erin Brockovich and the Lifetime series Final Justice with Erin Brockovich, she penned the New York Times bestselling book Take It from Me: Life’s a Struggle But You Can Win in 2001. She has also established herself as a sought-after speaker, frequently visiting foreign lecture series, and she was a key contributor to the 2012 documentary Last Call at the Oasis, which examined the effects of the global water supply shortage.
Brockovich has continued to work as a consumer advocate and environmental activist in the years since the Hinkley case that made her famous. She has been involved in numerous victories in court against polluters of the environment, as well as ongoing cases concerning autos, drugs, and medical equipment. She runs Brockovich Research & Consulting as its president and collaborates with Google to create a crowdsourced map that tracks potential environmental health risks throughout the globe.
Erin Brockovich Personal life
From her first marriage to Shawn Brown, Brockovich had a son named Matthew and a daughter named Katie. From her second marriage to Steven Brockovich, she had a daughter named Elizabeth (“Beth”). Actor and country music DJ Eric L. Ellis was her third husband. As of 2016, Brockovich was living in a home she bought in 1996 with her US$2.5 million bonus from the Hinkley settlement in Agoura Hills, California.
Erin Brockovich Quick Fact
- Name: Erin Brockovich
- Birth Year: 1960
- Birth date: June 22, 1960
- Birth State: Kansas
- Birth City: Lawrence
- Birth Country: United States
- Gender: Female
- Best Known For: Erin Brockovich is best known for her involvement in one of the largest direct action lawsuits in U.S. history and is the subject of the 2000 film ‘Erin Brockovich,’ starring Julia Roberts.
- Astrological Sign: Cancer
- Lawrence High School
- Kansas State University
- Wade College
Who Is Erin Brockovich?
Erin Brockovich discovered records in 1992 while working as a file clerk at a Los Angeles law office, and as a result, more than 600 residents in Hinkley, California, sued PG&E. The settlement they received, for $333 million, was the largest of its kind in American history. The 2000 movie Erin Brockovich, which starred Julia Roberts in the lead character, was based on the tale of Brokovich’s life and involvement in the case. Erin Brockovich has kept up her efforts as an environmental and consumer activist after the movie’s premiere.
How many houses and cars does Erin Brockovich have?
Erin has a large collection of vehicles and residences, but she hasn’t yet told the media about them.
How much does Erin Brockovich make annually?
Erin’s yearly salary is $144,230.
How many businesses does Erin Brockovich own?
Erin is currently doing well for herself, but it is unknown how many companies she currently owns.
What brands does Erin Brockovich have?
She hasn’t spoken to the media about her brands yet, therefore little is known about them at this time.
How many Investments does Erin Brockovich have?
Erin hasn’t disclosed how many investments she has made overall as of yet, but she is a well-known businesswoman.
How many Endorsement deals has Erin Brockovich?
Although the actual amount of endorsement contracts Erin has signed to date is unknown.
How many charities has Erin Brockovich donated to?
Despite several donations to charities, the precise amount made by Brockovich is still unknown.
How many Philanthropy works has Erin Brockovich supported?
The extent of her current charitable endeavors is not well known.
What is the story behind Erin Brockovich?
After discovering widespread, inexplicable illness in the California hamlet of Hinkley in 1993, Brockovich spoke out against PG&E and became a whistleblower. She played a crucial role in the town’s lawsuit against the utility corporation.
What happened to Erin Brockovich in real life?
She now runs her own research and consulting company, hosts her own podcast, and established the Erin Brockovich Foundation to help communities fight for clean water.
What illness did Erin Brockovich have?
Brockovich actually contracted hexavalent chromium in real life. Erin Brockovich was truly hospitalized after eating the hexavalent chromium, despite not being depicted in the movie.