The film opens with a car accident. The vehicle driven by Erin Brockovish (Julian Roberts), an unemployed single mother of three, is broadsided by a speeding car at an intersection. After presenting her case to Mr. Ed Masry, he promises her of victory. However, Juliet’s eloquence yet slashy vocabularies do not guarantee her the defendant’s favor. With Ed Masry, they walk out without any compensation since the court ruled in the favor of the accused. Erin contemplates how she would manage to support her three children when she is still jobless. She hesitates at the idea of approaching Ed Masry, half demand, half pleading for the position of a file clerk. Fortunately, Ed offers her the position.
Unfortunately, some earlier events led to her termination as Masry’s firm. Now Masry needs her back, and Erin can negotiate for higher pay and some important fringe benefits. The scene’s opening establishes the importance with the shots of past due bills and Erim looking through the newspaper want ads.
When presented with the pro bono records, she is already focused to prove her importance in the firm. In her research, Julian Roberts realizes that the water supply running underground is contaminated with a poisonous chemical, Hexavalent chromium from the effluent disposals at Pacific Gas & Electric company (PG&E).
After uncovering a significant number of the potential victims, she consolidates convincing information that makes Ed agree in pursuing the case. However, the idea stands an expensive prospect in fighting a $28 billion corporation, a project that Ed is sure that their resources will be insufficient. In the meantime, Erin working loads are putting her at a distance from her boyfriend who is busy in charge of her three children.
With full support from Ed, Erin begins evaluating the particulars of the case. In her research, she discovers a systematic cover-up of the industrial poisoning of a city’s water supply that is threatening the lives of the whole community. Luckily, Erin finds informative medical records that could count essential in her investigations. Ed allows her to conduct an intensive investigation with the aim of establishing the connections with the real estate. Out of the town of Hinkey, she met Donna Jensen whose family has faced serious medical problems. She probes into the information indicating that the company had deliberately covered deaths associated with contamination of the drinking water by chromium.
With greater confidence from the information she ganged, she moves from house to house to sign up plaintiffs to make the PG&E accountable for the mess evidenced. However, corporate deviance was inevitable especially from the attorney’s office who appeared resist cooperation in this case. Some clerks refute her knowledge in the legal matters pointing that her research has many holes. Moreover, attains a negative response as a result of her scanty dressing. Despite the objectives encountered, Julian’s persistence in this investigation creates a balance between her life and for the good of the society she is presenting. The victims are compensated with $333,000,000.
Application of Good Will Theory
The “Good Will” theory examines the importance of acting within the moral codes to sustain human rights and dignity. It attempts to find the good not only in the will itself but in the will irrespective of any end to be reached by the will. “Nothing can be conceived, in the world or out of it, which can be called good without qualifications except a good will” (In Schwartz & In Harris, 2014). If one act morally, not for the personal gains, but for the sake of the entire community; such behavior is ethical because of its adequacy to achieve some proposed end. Superior foundations for morality ought to be starting point for ethics.
Erin Brockovich movie details on the crimes derived from the social-class differences in offending and punishment. Many offenses of this type tend to be invisible and undramatic, to involve no gunshots, car chases, or bedroom scenes. To inject excitement into movies of this nature, the filmmakers either fictionalize real events; making them more hair-raising than they are in the real life, or they forget verisimilitude entirely, making up the plot from scratch. Also, the filmmakers focus on the offense itself than on the persons who uncover it, creating the characters who develop into heroes. The Good Will theory view of the human nature is embedded in the social learning and subcultural theory arguing that humans are born as blank slates on which culture inscribes values and beliefs. However, Erin Brockovich movie espouse a view of human nature as inherently selfish and predatory, thus contributing to criminal behaviors. If the behaviors of an individual are inevitably dictated by the values and beliefs of their cultural environment, it has little significant on the human agency. “At times, individual’s values and beliefs are antithetical to the values of the broader society” (In Schwartz & In Harris, 2014).
What is in fact probably the best way to detect misconduct is via work of the whistleblowers, people who witness unethical behaviors and report to someone who must act. Whistleblowing in a public way assures that the establishment will not bury a concern. One of the important about whistleblowing is that the American social thinking is very ambivalent about it. Not only do people have ethical ambivalence about whistleblowing, but they also have justified self-preservational concerns. However, Erin Brockovich became a folk hero and subject of a movie for blowing the whistle on the corporate pollution and leading a class action lawsuit. It is an indication that if the whistleblower is successful, the flow of money to the research institution in truncated, projects are aborted, and jobs disappear. Thus, the whistleblower is seen as a traitor harming his or her peers and the institution (In Schwartz & In Harris, 2014). Still, everyone has some skeleton in his or her closet, and the idea that a colleague is capable of exposing yours makes you uncomfortable around such a person. However, this is in turn impossible to conceal. With the recriminations against whistleblowers inevitable; the Whistleblower’s Bill of Rights underlines a duty not to tolerate or engage in retaliation against good faith whistleblowers, institutional due process, institutional heedfulness to complaints, and timely investigations.
An expert is unique within the legal system. Only the expert can offer an opinion in the court that may be based on the personal study, educational background, experience, or review of the work of other individuals. An expert witness, by definition, possesses specialized knowledge that is beyond the experience of most persons and is called to testify to help or elaborate on a particular issue in question. As an expert, Julian Roberts helps the trier to understand the specialty of the matter. People who are familiar with the judicial system only through watching television or movies believe that the most important work but an expert is in the courtroom. At that time, the expert can provide the smoking gun; the information that the attorney can use to find the real criminal or to nail a conglomerate, who is flouting the law that resulted in harm to an unsuspecting community as indicated in the movie, Erim Brokovich. However, Julian Roberts accomplishes most of her work outside the courtroom. Through a disciplined, scientific approach the case facts provided, Julian Roberts assists the legal team in many ways (In Schwartz & In Harris, 2014).
Good Will theory also applied where Juliet Robert dared to take on the corporate powerhouse that controlled the town in which she lived, dramatizing the tragic effects of the environmental irresponsibility. Applied epidemiology is the basis for such public health services as sanitation, health screening, inoculations, well baby visits, and even routine physicals. Public health is interested not only in fighting disease but in promoting healthy lives of long length and good quality. Without cholera, typhoid, and tuberculosis, we now live long enough to die of degenerative diseases of old age like heart diseases, cancer, and neurological diseases such as hysterectomy (In Schwartz & In Harris, 2014). However, environmental factors are attributable to some of these diseases as shown in the movie Erin Brockovich. Mr. Brockevich becomes a hero for standing up for the rights of those whose lives have been destroyed by chemical wastes. The movies helped to raise the environmental concerns of the film’s viewers on a good will basis. In fact, the environment is increasingly influenced by the world travel.
Erin Brockovich intersects with the current spate of female investigators in television crime shows. The various women characters are often shown in the process of competently doing their work, whether in the field or the lab, refreshing images. The shows are mainly about solving crimes with relatively little time devoted to personal subplots and backstories. The principal women, however, often wear tight, low-slung pants and tops that reveal ample cleavage.
However, efforts for social change involve coordinated work with many people on many fronts and often a sustained effort before any tangible results are achieved. Maintaining hope and commitment can be hard when visible signs of success are not immediate and when the role one plays in the greater effort seems small in comparison to the problem. Indeed, the challenge is eminent in the leadership based on the social matters are depicted in the Erin Brockovich movie. Despite these challenges, the principal actor work with others to make life better for people in her neighborhood.
In Schwartz, M. & In Harris, H. (2014). Contribution of fiction to organizational ethics. Bingley, Bradford, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.