Movie Review-Erin Brockovich

Topics: Hinkley, California, Hexavalent chromium, Erin Brockovich Pages: 5 (1911 words) Published: March 1, 2008
Erin Brockovich, a 2000 Jersy Film Production, staring Julia Roberts is based on a true story that involved Pacific Gas and Electric Company using hexavalent chromium or chromium six as a rust inhibitor to prevent corrosion of pistons used in engines. According to the movie, for fourteen years, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company had been dumping water containing chromium six into ponds and covering them over. The ponds were not lined and the chromium based water leaked into the local water supply exposing residents of Hinkley, California to chromium six. Repeated exposure to hexavalent chromium causes chronic headaches, cancer, nose bleeds, bone and organ deterioration, respiratory failure, liver failure, heart failure, bone or organ deterioration and it gets into your DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and diseases can be passed onto your children and it can affect any type of reproduction. The legal limit for chromium six is .05 parts per million. The entire film shows the power that big corporations have over us as American citizens and how their interest in making a profit is more important that human life.

Leaving a job interview, Erin is struck in the side by a speeding vehicle. Injured and hurting, she finds herself in the office of Lawyer Ed Masry, played by Albert Finney, filing suit against the speeding driver for her injuries. Mr. Masry assures Erin that they have a good chance of winning the lawsuit. When Erin is on the witness stand, the defense attorneys says that she must have been desperate with three kids, no job and two ex-husbands that the emergency room doctor looked pretty promising.

Loosing the case, she is again looking for a job to support her family. Ed Masry is nearly forced to hire Erin when confronted about a job before his entire staff. Erin's office work leads her to investigate a pro-bono real estate case where Pacific Gas and Electric is trying to purchase the Jensen's property that is located near the Hinkley facility for an interstate off ramp. Finding medical records among the information in this real estate file provokes Erin's investigation into the case. Numerous medical problems suffered by the Jensen family were later determined effects of exposure to chromium six in their water supply. Mrs. Jensen advised Erin that the doctor visits, paid for by Pacific Gas and Electric, determined that one thing had nothing to do with the other. In other words, their ailments had nothing to do with possible exposure to chromium six. Pacific Gas and Electric also had the Jensen's water tested and told them it was fine.

Erin's investigation determines that the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a 28 billion dollar corporation, had knowledge and documentation as early as 1966 that water samples contained chromium six. One company employee was asked to shred such documentation as the readings from the test wells and holding ponds. The Hinkley Water Company held documentation of a clean-up and abatement order for the site and legal documentation that there was a contamination site one mile north in the community of Hinkley. They also had written documentation that the water samples contained .58 parts per million and that this could be responsible for various illnesses. A Hinkley Water Company employee provided information to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company that Erin was snooping around the water company asking questions about their facility. Erin soon began to receive threatening phone calls. One would assume he was paid off by Pacific Gas and Electric.

Pacific Gas and Electric's claims manager met with Lawyer Masry offering $250,000 for the Jensen home and when Lawyer Masry introduced the subject of all the illnesses the Jensen's were suffering, the claims manager threatened Lawyer Masry telling him remember who you are dealing with and stated "we are a 28 billion dollar corporation." During the legal proceedings it was determined that Pacific Gas and Electric's had...
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