Edward L. Masry
|Born||Edward Louis Masry
July 29, 1932
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||December 5, 2005
Thousand Oaks, California
|Resting place||Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park
Westlake Village, California
|Alma mater||Loyola Law School
Masry was an American of Syrian descent, born to immigrant parents in Paterson, New Jersey. He moved west to Southern California with his family when he was age eight, settling first in Venice and later in Van Nuys.
As an undergraduate, Masry attended L.A. Valley Junior College, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, and USC, and served with the U.S. Army in France. Although he never received a Bachelor's degree, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles accepted him on an exemption due to high placement test scores, and he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1960. Thereafter, he was admitted to the State Bar of California, and set up private practice in 1961.
His firm was instrumental in bringing about the multi-plaintiff direct action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company, alleging contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium in the Southern California town of Hinkley. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in American history.
The case was adapted for the successful 2000 film Erin Brockovich, with Albert Finney portraying Masry. He had a non-speaking cameo appearance in the film, as a restaurant patron sitting behind Julia Roberts, in the same diner that cameos Erin Brockovich as a waitress.
Masry died at age 73 at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, due to complications related to diabetes. He had resigned from the City Council of Thousand Oaks one week earlier because of his medical condition.
- Martin, Douglas (December 8, 2005). "Edward L. Masry, 73, pugnacious lawyer, dies". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- Oliver, Myrna (December 7, 2005). "Ed Masry, 73; Attorney won major settlement from PG&E, sat on Thousand Oaks council". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- Pierson, David; So, Hemmy (February 4, 2006). "PG&E will pay residents who sued over groundwater pollution". Retrieved October 20, 2016.