June 2, 2015
First Film Review
"Erin Brockovich," starring Julia Roberts, was filmed in 2000. Based on a true story, it walks us through the life of an unemployed single mother of three that became a legal assistant. The movie starts off with Erin being injured in a car accident. Her lawyer/future firm partner Ed Masry, loses her case and Erin explodes. Somehow, after numerous unreturned phone calls she lands a job in Ed's law firm.
Throughout the film, she works to bring down Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). When Erin visits resident, Donna Jenson, she finds out that the reason for Donnas' abnormalities are due to the chromium 6 used by PG&E. PG&E kept telling the residents that they were around a safer form of chromium but of course that was a lie.
Eventually Erin built a strong cases but it still needed two more things to make it a solid win. She needed evidence to prove PG&E was aware of the issue before any of this occurred. By using a disposition by binding arbitration and getting 634 plaintiffs to sign, they finally had the leverage they needed. An employee came fourth at a bar and explained to Erin that he was ordered to shred documents that incriminated PG&E for their unethical use of harmful chemicals. By providing a memo from 1966 stating that the headquarters knew of the harmful effects this chemical would have on the community, Erin had won. The judge ordered PG&E to pay a settlement amount of $333 million to be
distributed between the 634 plaintiffs effected by this unethical business corporation.
A number of ethical issues were portrayed in this film including bribery, deception and harm to the environment. These ethical issues all came from Pacific Gas and Electric. Deception started when they allowed the townspeople of Hinkley, California to believe their water wasn't harmful. Instead of using chromium 3 as they led to believe, they were using chromium 6 which is extremely harmful. Fortunately, towards the end of the film deception was made clear. The documents dated for year 1966 wrote "it would be better for all if documents on the water contamination was not discussed."
As for Bribery, two incidents occurred. The first incident happened when a representative was sent from PG&E and offered $250,000 to Donnas' family to drop potential and future charges. The second incident occurred when PG&E paid for all the residents doctors visits. In PG&E's favor, they picked the doctors that way the doctors would not mention the harmful effects of the chemical being used. This gave the residences a sense of trust because a certified physician was the person giving the information of their reasons for being sick. Erin denying the bribe resolved the first incident. The second incident wasn't exactly resolved but residents were eventually fully aware of PG&E's wrong doing.
Lastly, the harm to the environment was caused by contaminated water not being properly disposed of. Harming