Erin Brockovich, 1960

  • Erin-Brockovich-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism and LawWoman Tags: Advocate

  • HerStory

    An environmental activist and a consumer advocate. Famous for the case she built against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993.

    Erin Pattee was born in Lawrence, Kansas. After graduating high school, she attended Kansas State University for a year before transferring to Wade College, earning an associate’s degree in applied arts. At the age of 20, she moved to Newport Beach, California, where she worked as a management trainee at Kmart, but left shortly to participate in the Miss Pacific Coast beauty pageant, winning the title. At the time, she met her first husband, and the couple moved from one place to another until they settled in Reno, Nevada. Not long after, they got divorced, and she began to work as a secretary at a brokerage firm, where she met her second husband, Steve Brockovich. The marriage lasted a year, and at 29, pregnant with two children, Brockovich moved to San Fernando Valley, California.
    After been severely injured in a car accident, Brockovich hired Masry & Vititoe law firm to represent her in the case. The lawyer felt sympathetic to her and recognized her abilities, so he offered her a job as a clerk in his firm. In 1993, while filing documents on a real estate case, Brockovich found suspicious medical records. In her investigation, she uncovered that for more than 30 years, the power company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) had contaminated the groundwater of Hinkley’s town with the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium, caused severe illnesses in almost every household in Hinkley. More than 600 residents of Hinkley filed a lawsuit against the company, and in 1996 PG&E was forced to pay a settlement of $333 million – the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in the US. Brockovich herself received a $2 million bonus for her work on the case.
    In 2005, Brockovich left Masry & Vititoe to open her own company – Erin Brockovich Research & Consulting. There, she is assisting people with cases of environmental-contamination issues. She was involved in various successful lawsuits against environmental polluters in the US and abroad and has given lectures about consumer advocation worldwide.

    “Awareness is key. In the absence of information, none of us know what is happening and what could be jeopardizing our health, our water supply, and our planet.”

    “Awareness is key. In the absence of information, none of us know what is happening and what could be jeopardizing our health, our water supply, and our planet.”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She was married three times and has four kids.
    • The movie Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts, tells the story of her investigation on the contamination by PG&E in the town of Hinkle.
    • In the movie Erin Brockovich, she plays a waitress named Julia R.
    • She authored two books – Take It From Me: Life’s a Struggle But You Can Win, and Superman’s Not Coming.
    • She hosted a Lifetime series called “Final Justice With Erin Brockovich.”
    • She has dyslexia, and in school, she was placed in special-education classes.
    • She partnered with Google to digitize a crowd-sourced map that enables people to track and self-report environmental health hazards wherever they live.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * Honorary Doctor of Laws from Lewis & Clark Law School (2005)
    * Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from t Loyola Marymount University (2007)
    * Honorary Master of Arts, Business Communication, from Jones International University

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Advocate

    Erin Brockovich Explains The Flint Water Crisis

    Erin Brockovich stops by to explain the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which she has been investigating for over a year.

  • Brockovich in 2019. Photo credit - Sroeck @ Wikipedia