December 6, 2005

Lawyer of ‘Erin Brockovich’ fame dies age 73

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Edward Masry, the environmental
lawyer portrayed by Albert Finney in the hit movie "Erin
Brockovich," has died at the age of 73, his law firm said on

Masry died on Monday from complications of diabetes, ending
a 40-year legal career in the Los Angeles area that ranged from
criminal defense to cases involving toxic contamination.

His work in the 1990s with his then legal assistant Erin
Brockovich on a water contamination case in Hinkley,
California, led to what was then the largest toxic tort injury
settlement in U.S. history.

Some $333 million in damages were paid to more than 600
residents for the alleged leak of carcinogens into ground water
from a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. station.

The tireless investigation of the case by Brockovich and
Masry inspired the 2000 movie "Erin Brockovich," which won an
Oscar for Julia Roberts for her portrayal of the title
character. Finney was nominated for a best supporting actor
Oscar for his portrayal of Masry.

Masry's interest in the environment also brought him
numerous awards from local and national environmental groups
for his efforts to preserve open spaces and his work on behalf
of consumers.