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Loyola University New Orleans features Erin Brockovich For 6th annual Fr. Carter Lecture Series

Loyola press release - March 30, 2001

(New Orleans)—The Loyola University New Orleans 6th annual Fr. Carter Lecture Series, will feature Erin Brockovich, and will be held on Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, which will take place in Roussel Performance Hall, located on Loyola’s main campus at 6363 St. Charles Ave., is free and open to the public, though seating is limited.

In 1996, as a single mother with little formal education, Brockovich helped win a huge victory for environmental justice against a monster public utility company in California, and one of the largest class-action lawsuits ever. She will tell the story of the investigation, legal triumph and personal issues that were dramatized in the film Erin Brockovich, released in March 2000.

This lecture series honors Loyola’s longest-tenured president, the Rev. James C. Carter, S.J., who served 20 years. The series seeks to feature a speaker of national prominence whose humanity and character have enabled him or her to promote social justice in his or her life and work. Past speakers have included Susan Sarandon, Sister Helen Prejean, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Dr. Beck Weathers, Jerry Greenfield, and Edward James Olmos.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs, 861-5888.

About Erin Brockovich

Brockovich, the person played by Julia Roberts in her Oscar Award-winning role in the film by the same name, grew up in Lawrence, Kansas and completed one year at Kansas State University. She received an Associates degree from a Texas business college. She has three children and has been divorced twice.

In 1991, after her second divorce, Brockovich was a single mother with small children to care for when she begged her attorney, Ed Masry, to give her a job as a file clerk. She came across some medical records in a pro bono real estate case that piqued her curiosity. After getting Masry’s permission to look into the case, she uncovered evidence that the Pacific Gas and Electric Company had been aware of the danger of a chemical it had allowed to leak into the groundwater around Henkley, California. In 1993 Brockovich and Masry put together over 600 plaintiffs, and partnered with a powerhouse law firm to win the suit.

Eventually the case lead to a $333 million judgement, one of the largest legal settlement in U. S. history, against the utility company. The company had allowed huge quantities of toxic Chromium 6 to leak throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s and it had devastated the health of many humans and animals living around the area. But the company had assured the citizens of Hinkley all along that the chemical was safe. Most, in fact, were employees of the company and had to be convinced which chromium was being used and that it was harmful.

No longer a file clerk, Erin now serves as director of environmental research at Masry and Vititoe, the firm where she began her career, where she is currently involved in other major environmental lawsuits that she helped to put together.