Erin Brockovich (2000) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

  • Erin Brockovich-Ellis is an unemployed single mother, desperate to find a job, but is having no luck. This losing streak even extends to a failed lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in. With no alternative, she successfully browbeats her lawyer to give her a job in compensation for the loss. While no one takes her seriously, with her trashy clothes and earthy manners, that soon changes when she begins to investigate a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. What she discovers is that the company 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 Brockovich-Ellis is a woman in a tight spot. Following a car accident in which Erin is not at fault, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry to hire her at his law firm. Erin stumbles upon some medical records placed in real estate files. She convinces Ed to allow her to investigate, where she discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community which is causing devastating illnesses among its residents.

  • Julia Roberts stars in this legal drama based on the story of a woman who helped win the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit. Erin Brockovich (Roberts) is a single mother of three who, after losing a personal injury lawsuit, asks her lawyer, Ed Masry (Albert Finney), if he can help her find a job. Ed gives her work as a file clerk in his office, and she runs across some information on a little-known case filed against Pacific Gas and Electric. Erin begins digging into the particulars of the case, convinced that the facts simply don't add up, and persuades Ed to allow her to do further research; in time, she discovers a systematic cover-up of the industrial poisoning of a city's water supply, which threatens the health of the entire community.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Desperate for work, unskilled Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts), single parent of three, takes a relatively inconsequential job as a legal assistant in a California law firm for low wages. While organizing some paperwork pertaining to real estate cases, she is puzzled when she notices medical records in one of the files. On a whim, she does a little investigating of her own, and comes to suspect that land purchased by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is the same land on which chromium contamination resulted from PG&E's environmentally irresponsible actions.

    Examination of local water records and interviews with residents ill from exposure to poisonous chromium confirm Erin's suspicions, but pursuit of legal proceedings against PG&E would seem beyond the capabilities of the small law firm she works at. Still, Erin succeeds in making her boss, Ed Masry (Albert Finney), as passionate about the case as she is, and he takes it on. Both Ed and Erin must make great sacrifices in their lives, as the legal costs spread Ed very thin, and the round-the-clock work takes Erin out of touch with both her boyfriend and her kids.

    Erin's kids resent the lack of attention from her, and her attempts to explain the merits of what she is doing to her eldest son are futile ..... but, one day her eldest son happens across one of the many documents pertaining to the PG&E case. He reads of a child his own age who is very ill, and knowing that Erin's work will help this child, asks her why the child's mother cannot provide the needed help. When Erin explains that it is because the child's mother is very ill, too, her son, for the first time, appreciates the nature and importance of Erin's work.

    In the end, Erin's special ability to bond with the victims of chromium contaminaton and their families and Ed's legal and administrative prowess are the key ingredients to making the case against PG&E. As a team, they manage to successfully lay the groundwork for the payment of legal damages by PG&E to those harmed.

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