Erin Brockovich is a 2000 drama film which dramatizes the story of Erin Brockovich's legal fight against the US West Coast energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh and starred Julia Roberts, who won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors' Guild Award and BAFTA for Best Actress. It is based on a true story, and the real Erin Brockovich has a cameo appearance as a waitress named Julia.
Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) was an unemployed single mother of three children who, after losing a personal injury lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in, asks her lawyer, Edward L. Masry (Albert Finney), if he can find her a job in compensation for the loss. Ed gives her work as a file clerk in his office, and she runs across some files on a pro bono case involving medical records in real-estate files and PG&E offering to purchase the home of Hinkley, California resident Donna Jensen. Erin begins digging into the particulars of the case, convinced that the facts simply do not add up, and persuades Ed to allow her further research. After investigation, she discovers a systematic cover-up of the industrial poisoning (hexavalent chromium) of the town of Hinkley's water supply that threatens the health of an entire community. She finds that PG&E is responsible for the extensive illnesses that the residents of Hinkley have been diagnosed with and fights to bring the company to justice. Erin meets a mysterious man in a bar who claimed to Erin to have destroyed documents at PG&E, and discovers a 1966 document that ties a conversation of a corporate executive in the San Francisco PG&E headquarters to the Hinkley station that knew the water was contaminated but didn't do anything about it and advised to keep it a secret from the Hinkley neighborhood. The evidence was examined by a judge without a jury and PG&E was ordered to pay a settlement amount of $333 million that was divided among the 634 plaintiffs.