Ethics Case

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Erin Brockovich-Ellis (born June 22, 1960) is an American legal clerk who, despite the lack of a formal law school education, was instrumental in constructing a case against the $28 billion Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), of California in 1993. Since the release of the movie that shares her story and name, she has hosted Challenge America with Erin Brockovich on ABC and Final Justice on Lifetime. She is the president of Brockovich Research & Consulting, a consulting firm. Background

Brockovich was born Erin L. E. Pattee in Lawrence, Kansas, and attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. She worked as a management trainee for Kmart in 1981 but quit after a few months and entered some potentially lucrative beauty pageants. After winning Miss Pacific Coast in 1981, she soon gave up pageant life because she found it shallow. She has lived in California since 1982. Pacific Gas litigation

The case alleged contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium (VI), in the southern California town of Hinkley. At the center of the case is a facility called the Hinkley Compressor Station, part of a natural gas pipeline connecting to the San Francisco Bay Area and constructed in 1952. Pacific Gas & Electric was in serious trouble. Four decades after the world's largest utility started dumping 370 million gallons of cancer-causing chemicals into unlined ponds in Hinkley, California, the company's actions had finally been uncovered. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in U.S. history. On December 7, 1987 officials from the company advised the State of California they had detected levels of hexavalent chromium (chrome 6) in a groundwater monitoring well north of the compressor station's waste water ponds. The levels were ten times greater than the maximum amount allowed by law. Known as a cancer-causing chemical since the 1920s, chrome 6 is especially...
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