Environmental activist known for the Hinkley groundwater contamination case
"Erin Brockovich is an American legal clerk and environmental activist, who, despite her lack of formal education in the law, was instrumental in building a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993. Her successful lawsuit was the subject of a 2000 film, Erin Brockovich, which starred Julia Roberts. Since then, Brockovich has become a media personality as well, hosting the TV series Challenge America with Erin Brockovich on ABC and Final Justice on Zone Reality. She is the president of Brockovich Research & Consulting. She also works as a consultant for Girardi & Keese, the New York law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, which has a focus on personal injury claims for asbestos exposure, and Shine Lawyers in Australia…
The case alleged contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium (also written as "chromium VI", "Cr-VI" or "Cr-6") in the southern California town of Hinkley. At the center of the case was a facility, the Hinkley compressor station, built in 1952 as a part of a natural-gas pipeline connecting to the San Francisco Bay Area. Between 1952 and 1966, PG&E used hexavalent chromium in a cooling tower system to fight corrosion. The wastewater was discharged to unlined ponds at the site, and some percolated into the groundwater, affecting an area near the plant approximately 2 by 1 mile (3.2 by 1.6 km). The Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) put the PG&E site under its regulations in 1968.
The case was settled in 1996 for US$333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history. Masry & Vititoe, the law firm for which Brockovich was a legal clerk, received $133.6 million of that settlement, and Brockovich herself was given a bonus of $2.5 million…
Honorary Doctor of laws and commencement speaker at Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon, in May 2005.
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and commencement speaker at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, on May 5, 2007.
Honorary Master of Arts, Business Communication, from Jones International University, Centennial, Colorado.
Brockovich's work in bringing litigation against Pacific Gas and Electric was the focus of the 2000 feature film, Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts in the title role. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing in a Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Roberts won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich. Erin Brockovich herself had a cameo role as a waitress named Julia R." (1)