City of Barstow issues proclamation citing ‘Erin Brockovich’ day

Barstow honors real-life heroine of new DVD

Nearly a thousand people–including plaintiffs from the monumental lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric–turned up in Barstow, California out to honor Erin Brockovich-Ellis as, in a historic move, Mayor Katy Yslas-Yent issued a proclamation heralding the inspirational heroism and determination of the woman who helped win compensation for residents of the nearby town of Hinkley whose water was found to be contaminated.

The event coincides with Universal Studios Home Video’s launch of the home video and DVD releases of the critically-acclaimed film starring Julia Roberts, Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart. The film occupied the #1 spot at the box office for nearly a month earlier this year and has earned over $125 million domestically to date.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at Silver Screen Video, owned by former Hinkley residents Greg and Roberta Walker, the latter was one of more than 600 plaintiffs who, guided by Ms. Brockovich-Ellis and attorney Ed Masry, sued Pacific Gas & Electric in the 1993 landmark case. Craig Kornblau, president, Universal Studios Home Video, welcomed the crowd and thanked everyone for coming. He then introduced Ed Masry, who stated it was terrific to see everyone and that he didn’t think the shopping center was even built in 1992 when he first met Roberta Walker. Ed then introduced Erin Brockovich-Ellis, who told the crowd that today’s celebration belonged to the people, calling them, ‘the finest people in the entire country’ and ‘my inspiration.’ She added, ‘I couldn’t be more proud of all of you.’

Immediately following Mayor Yslas-Yent’s proclamation honoring Brockovich-Ellis and declaring today ‘Erin Brockovich Day,’ the opening-day ribbon at Silver Screen Video was officially cut and Brockovich-Ellis and Masry began signing video and DVD copies of Erin Brockovich for the nearly one thousand joyful fans in attendance.

Erin Brockovich is based on the story of the feisty Ms. Brockovich-Ellis, an unemployed, twice divorced mother of three who convinces attorney Ed Masry to hire her as an office worker. While doing some routine filing, she becomes fascinated by some puzzling medical records placed in real estate files. Questioning the connection, she soon uncovers a huge, billion-dollar power company’s attempt to hide the fact that their chromium-contaminated water is causing devastating illnesses among the residents of Hinkley, California. Through her relentless devotion to the cause of the victims, she succeeds in signing up 634 plaintiffs, and with Masry, brings a small town to its feet and a huge company to its knees as they go on to win the largest settlement ever in a U.S. direct-action lawsuit.

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