MAKERS Profile

Erin Brockovich

Environmental Activist

In this video

Brockovich on her childhood struggle with dyslexia, being a single mother of three, and how she spearheaded the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind against Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California.
Erin Brockovich is an environmental activist and former legal clerk who spearheaded the largest direct action lawsuit of its kind against Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California. Her story, how she stopped at nothing to construct the case, and her unflinching spirit became familiar to millions with the 2000 feature film Erin Brockovich.   Raised in Lawrence, Kansas by parents who taught her about “stick-to-it-iveness,” Brockovich learned to work through her dyslexia and avoid being boxed in by her learning disability. She earned an associate’s degree in applied arts, moved to California and found herself in and out of jobs as a single mother of three.   And then, a great misfortune turned into the most significant chapter of her career. After being seriously injured in a car accident, Brockovich hired Masry & Vititoe to represent her. They won such a tiny settlement that Brockovich lobbied the attorneys hire her so she could earn a living. While working as a file clerk organizing papers for a pro bono real estate case, she discovered troubling medical records that would lead her and Ed Masry to pursue a class action lawsuit against PG&E for knowingly contaminating the ground water near a Hinkley, California plant with toxic hexavalent chromium.   After years of research and court battles, in 1996, Brockovich watch as PG&E was forced to pay out the largest toxic tort injury settlement in US history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.   After the success of the Erin Brockovich movie, Brockovich has become a household name and icon of “stick-to-it-iveness.” She has hosted two television series “Challenge America With Erin Brockovich” and “Final Justice With Erin Brockovich” and wrote the New York Times best seller, “Take It From Me. Life’s A Struggle, But You Can Win.”   Brockovich is currently President of Brockovich Research & Consulting and continues to fight for the “1,900 Hinkleys” worldwide.

More From Erin

Unsung Heroes
Brockovich on the heroes like our mothers and fathers that exist right in front of us that we often forget to acknowledge. 

Fighting for Hinkley
Brockovich on the sacrifices she had to make while fighting the Hinkley case and how even though people thought she was crazy, she had to follow her heart.

Standing In A Room of Testosterone
Brockovich on learning to maneuver and succeed in a male world.

Work, Family, and Guilt
Brockovich explains that there can be no growth for yourself if you don't allow yourself moments of self-renewal.

Happier at 51 Than Ever Before
Brockovich on where self-confidence comes from and how she's more confident and happy at 51 than she ever was before.

The Movie
Brockovich on discovering that the movie would be called "Erin Brockovich".

Meeting Julia Roberts
Brockovich talks about the excitement that went along with Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich and meeting Julia Roberts.

"1,900 Hinkleys"
Brockovich on how hexavalent chromium contamination is occurring in hundreds of places outside of Hinkley, California.

Lessons of Hinkley
Brockovich on how every gift we have comes from the environment.

Becoming a Mother
Brockovich on rising to the challenge of being a mother and how her children are her saving graces.

Testing the Limits
Brockovich talks about getting fired from a job she loved and how it taught her about accountability and responsibility. 

The Kindness of One Teacher
Brockovich talks about the one teacher she had growing up who understood she was smart but had a learning disability and needed to be tested in a different way.