Ethical Issues in Erin Brockovich
Erin Brockovich is in a car accident that is not her fault and hires attorney Ed Masry to defend her. He gave her the impression that she would be getting a good settlement, but she lost the case. She is a single mom of three, has no money and is unable to find a job. She blames him for losing the case (due to lack of preparation) and forces her way in to a job at his law firm. Because of the way she dresses and acts, nobody takes her seriously and treats her with respect. She is given a real estate pro-bono file to open involving the purchase of Donna Jensen’s home by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PS&E). As she read through the documentation, she found it confusing that there was medical information included in the file. Erin becomes suspicious and asks to further investigate the case. After talking with Donna Jensen, as well as other residents of Hinkley, she became aware that they all had similar medical problems. As she digs deeper, she realizes that PG&E was at fault because they were dumping a toxic waste (chromium 6) in the town water and it was poisoning the people in Hinkley. At first, the residents are hesitant to jump on board and go against PG&E because they believe the company has done a lot of good for the community. Erin made it her mission to convince the people and once she did, she was determined to do whatever necessary to make this large corporation pay for what they had done and the lives they ruined.
There are several ethical issues both personal and professional in this movie. The first ethical issue that comes up in the movie is when Erin asks if she could investigate the case further and Mr. Masry tells her to go ahead. He should not have given her the authority to investigate since she is not a lawyer and has no legal experience. Throughout the movie Erin was practicing law illegally and Mr. Masry was aware of that. For instance, she immediately goes to the home of...
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