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People and Places/Erin Brokovich
Source: Wikipedia, Date: , 2009
Hollywood star Julia Roberts immortalised her in a film that was nominated for five Academy Awards
Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best
Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing in a Screenplay Written
Directly for the Screen ,finally winning for her the crown of Academy Award for Best Actress
But who was the real Erin Brokovich?
Erin Brockovich-Ellis (born June 22, 1960) is an American legal clerk and environmental activist who, despite the lack of a formal law school education, was instrumental in constructing a case against the 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.
She was born Erin L. E. Pattee in Lawrence, Kansas to Frank Pattee, an industrial engineer and Betty Jo O'Neal-Pattee, a journalist. She attended Lawrence High School then 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.Brockovich was involved in a car accident in Reno and was seriously injured. Her case was settled out of court for $50,000.Brockovich received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa Degree and was Commencement Speaker at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on May 5, 2007.
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 was a facility called the Hinkley Compressor Station, part of a natural gas pipeline connecting to the San Francisco Bay Area constructed in 1952. Between 1952 and 1966, PG&E used hexavalent chromium to fight corrosion in the cooling tower. The wastewater dissolved the hexavalent chromium from the cooling towers and was discharged to unlined ponds at the site. Some of the wastewater percolated into the groundwater, affecting an area near the plant approximately two miles long and nearly a mile wide.The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in U.S. history.