Ethical Issues in Erin Brockovich Erin Brockovich is in a car accident that is not her fault and hires attorney Ed Masry to defend her. He gave her the impression that she would be getting a good settlement, but she lost the case. She is a single mom of three, has no money and is unable to find a job. She blames him for losing the case (due to lack of preparation) and forces her way in to a job at his law firm. Because of the way she dresses and acts, nobody takes her seriously and treats her with respect. She is given a real estate pro-bono file to open involving the purchase of Donna Jensen’s home by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PS&E). As she read through the documentation, she found it confusing that there was medical
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While going through all the files, she came across a document stating PG&E was ordered to clean up hexavalent chromium that was polluting the water and she made a copy of it without asking permission. After telling Ed the situation and showing him the document, he says they will need more information and asks how she thinks she can get it -- she says “they’re called boobs, Ed.” She goes right back to the water board and gets all the documentation she can find.
The most evident ethical dilemma of this film is the dishonesty of PG&E about the type of chromium in the water, and the consequences that it had on the residents of Hinkley. PG&E hid the truth from the people and allowed them to believe that their water was safe, when all along they knew it wasn’t. Donna Jensen told Erin that they even held seminar for the residents of Hinkley and passed out pamphlets to explain the benefits of PG&E using chromium 3 at their plant. Regular chromium is good for the body and chromium 3 is basically benign, however hexavalent chromium (or chromium 6) depending on amount is toxic and harmful to humans. It can cause chronic headaches and nosebleeds, respiratory disease, liver failure, heart failure, reproductive failure, bone or organ deterioration, and cancer. They led them to believe that it was perfectly fine to drink and ok for their kids to swim in the water. As it turns out, they