Erin Brockovich, this is not just the name of a popular movie from the year 2000 starring Julia Roberts. It is the name of a very outspoken and lively individual, which is one of the most influential women in the judicial system. Ms. Brockovich helped to win the largest medical settlement lawsuit in US history, as represented in the movie. Today she is still very involved in environmental projects worldwide, the president of the consulting firm Brockovich Research and Consulting, a bestselling author, and one of the most requested lecture clients on the lecture circuit. Even though Erin did not start out in life to become famous for helping those who cannot help themselves, she has definitely succeeded in doing just that.
Erin Brokovich was the youngest child of a hardworking middle class family from Lawrence, Kansas. Her father was an industrial engineer and her mother a journalist. After graduating high school, Erin attended Kansas State University for one year before moving to Dallas, where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Arts from Wade’s Business College. (Forum on Law, Culture, and Society, 2013) By 1990, Erin found herself married and divorced twice and a single mother of 3 children. While living in Reno, she was involved in a car accident, and sustained serious injuries. At that time, Erin decided that she would move back to Southern California. This would prove to be the most profitable move of her life. This is where she met Ed Masry and Jim Vititoe of Masry and Vititoe Attorneys at Law. She hired Mr. Vititoe to handle her personal injury case stemming from her accident in Reno. Not long after, Erin began work at their firm as a law clerk. While working at the law firm, Erin discovered some interesting medical records in a real estate file. With Mr. Masry’s permission, Erin began research into these medical records. Little did she know, this research and her findings would make her very famous.
What Erin found in the medical records was shocking. Erin’s investigation uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the small town of Hinkley, California’s water by leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water for over 30 years. As a result of the Chromium 6 levels being over 10 times greater than the maximum allowed by law, many people and farm animals became sick and/or died. Chromium 6 was found to cause cancer and sterilization in humans as well as in farm animals. With the permission and help of Ed Masry, Erin started a class action lawsuit against one of the largest utility company in the world. The utility giant lost the law suit and was forced to pay the largest personal injury settlement in US history, $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents. (Brockovich, 2012) After the settlement in the Hinkley case, Erin was appointed Director of Environmental Research at Masry and Vititoe.
Ms. Brockovich has been involved in many environmental projects worldwide; including the pollution in the Ogeechee River in Savanah, Georgia, the Orica chemical leak in Stockton, Australia, and most recently the medical incinerator issues in North Salt Lake City, Utah. Erin has also evolved into a bestselling author of motivational books and has appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List. “Take It From Me, Life’s a Struggle, But You Can Win” and “Hot Water” urge individuals to stand up for their rights and fight back. Erin is also one of the most requested motivational speakers on the circuit. She is the president of Brockovich Research & Consulting, a firm that has been involved in lawsuits against Mirena and Essure. Erin is also set to launch her own magazine early in 2014. The magazine will create awareness on environmental issues,