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Erin Brockovich

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criminal law
Portland State

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case study
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  1. Introduction
  2. Pacific Gas & Electric Co
  3. Erin Brockovich
  4. Conclusion

?Erin Brockovich,? is a film that stirred echoes in my mind about the capacities of human nature. Erin herself, as represented in the movie, was an American legal clerk with no formal legal training. Through her involvement in the law firm of Masry, she becomes an advocate for environmental activism and awareness. She was a front-runner and very instrumental in the discovery of groundwater contamination in the town of Hinkley, California.

Through her curiosity, hard work, and perseverance for uncovering the truth, it came to light that Pacific Gas & Electric, Co. was found guilty for allowing Hexavalent Chromium, or ?Cr-6? to seep into, and throughout the town of Hinkley, California. In the Hinkley Compressor Station, which is a part of a natural gas pipeline which connects to the San Francisco Bay area, the Cr-6 was used to fight corrosion in the cooling tower. The waste water essentially dissolved the Cr-6 and was discharged at various unlined ponds, which further dissolved into groundwater affecting nearby areas. According to information taken from epidemiological studies, the Average Cr-6 levels in Hinkley were recorded as 1.9ppb, peaking to 3.09ppb. The PG&E compressor station had maintained levels of 7.8ppb, peaking to 31.8ppb. The goal according to California's standards in 2011 was listed as being 0.02ppb.

[...] Its corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco. As mentioned in the film, Masry and Brockovich discuss a potential remedy for the town of Hinkley, and the doctrine of ?Piercing the corporate is brought to life. The corporate headquarters for PG&E was the deep pocket involved in the lawsuit, which could provide an immense monetary relief if the case was validated. Not only would general, economic or non-economic damages be sought, but a rightful remedial action would be for punitive damages as well, which are intended to deter and punish any defendant from further engaging in similar behavior. [...]

[...] The stipulations in Oregon for bringing such a suit could cause several implications, as the case took many years to conclude. The Hinkley v. PG&E Case settled in 1996 for $333 million dollars which happens to be the largest settlement to ever be paid in history of the United States. The Masry law firm received $ 133.6 million of the settlement. I do not believe, however, that there can ever be a remedy as to making someone after such tragedies occur. [...]

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