In the film, we see that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) had known for several years about the water contamination problems that existed near their plants in California. PG&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. This fact becomes apparent when a newly hired file clerk, Erin Brockovich, runs across some files on a pro bono case involving medical records in real-estate files and PG&E offering to acquire the home of Hinkley, California, resident Donna Jensen.
It can be seen here that PG&E engaged in a crime. This white collar deviance involved the type called physical harm and moral harm. Erin Brockovich: Oh see, now that pisses me off. First of all, since the demur we have more than 400 plaintiffs and… let’s be honest, we all know there are more out there. They may not be the most sophisticated people but they do know how to divide and $20 million isn’t *shit* when you split it between them.
Second of all, these people don’t dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying that they’ll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of *twenty*. Like Rosa Diaz, a client of ours. Or have their spine deteriorate, like Stan Blume, *another* client of ours. So before you come back here with another lame ass offer, I want you to think real hard about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker.
Or what you might expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Ms. Sanchez. Then you take out your calculator and you multiply that number by a hundred. Anything less than that is a waste of our time. In this scene PG&E attorneys are trying to settle the lawsuit with a mediocre offer that Erin finds unacceptable. The case had changed to a binding arbitration. Therefore no jury would be present and a judge would make the final decision. This type of litigation was classified as a tort case.
Courtney from Study Moose
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