Heather Samuels History 104 Dr. MezaFilm Critique Erin Brockovich Throughout history, many events have occurred in which big corporations try to overpower and control smaller people. Unfortunately, this is inevitable for smaller businesses that have no control over the world’s industries. 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 by a woman named Erin Brockovich. Erin Brockovich was a formally unemployed single mother of three working in a California law firm.
After a couple of months of research about medical records and real estate files, she uncovered information that led to the biggest settlement on record for a civil class action lawsuit. People and animals all over the small town of Hinkley California were getting sick without explanations. Some of these victims have even died. Since the residents depended on their local groundwater supply for all their needs, Brockovich started wondering if these illnesses and the water supply had any sort of connection to the deaths that had occurred.
In December of 1987 officials advised the state of California that there was an abundance of Chrome 6 in the groundwater. The levels were 10 times higher than the amount allowed by the law.
Chrome 6 is cancer causing chemical which is extremely dangerous to the lungs. Since many Hinkleys residents were complaining about respiratory problems, a link to chrome 6 was a big possibility. After the government became aware of the pollution that was taking place, Erin Brockovich soon discovers that the company PG and E is trying quietly to buy land that was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste that the company is improperly and illegally dumping and, in turn, poisoning the residents in the area.
As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading point in a series of events that would involve her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation. Erin meets a weird-looking guy at a bar that she at first thinks is trying to pick her up, only to find out that he is a former employee of the gas company and has a lot of incriminating evidence. This is all the evidence they need now. After the case is settled, Erin and her law firm help the citizens of the town win 333 million dollars which would be divided up evenly between them while Brockovich receives 7 million. The American dream is the ideology that if we work hard, we will do well and be successful in life. Erin Brockovich is living proof that this theory is true by working hard and becoming an extremely successful woman. This idea is highlighted by the fact that she is a poor single mother without much education behind her and she has to work hard to defeat the odds and achieve the things she wants. Not only does Erin work hard to succeed in the things the wants, but she helps many people along the way implying that the American dream can help others as well as help ourselves.