Regulation agency sues Erika Girardi, others over alleged theft of shopper funds

Erika Jayne attends the Elton John Aids Basis Academy Awards viewing social gathering at West Hollywood Park in West Hollywood, California, US, March 27, 2022. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci

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  • The lawsuit seeks greater than $50 million in damages over the alleged misuse of settlement funds awarded to Tom Girardi’s purchasers
  • Legal professional Jay Edelson stated he’s “assured in our skill to show to a jury that the Girardi Keese agency was appearing as a prison enterprise.”

(Reuters) – Plaintiffs’ regulation agency Edelson has sued legal professional Tom Girardi’s estranged spouse and former members of Girardi’s regulation agency, looking for damages after Edelson coated settlement funds owed to Girardi’s former purchasers in litigation over the 2018 Lion Air crash.

The lawsuit was filed late Wednesday in San Francisco federal court docket after a decide in Illinois in April accepted a plan for Edelson to pay 5 households within the Lion Air case a minimum of $2 million.

The brand new lawsuit in opposition to actuality TV star Erika Jayne Girardi, her firm EJ International and former Girardi Keese attorneys David Lira and Keith Griffin says the Girardis took settlement funds supposed for purchasers and used them to bankroll their lavish way of life. It calls Erika Girardi the “frontwoman” of the scheme, “promoting to the world (together with unsuspecting purchasers) that Girardi Keese was profitable.”

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A lawyer for Girardi referred to as the lawsuit “one other misguided try and blame Erika for actions of Tom Girardi and others of which she had no information and by which she had no involvement.”

The lawsuit additionally names as defendants authorized guide George Hatcher, former Girardi Keese chief monetary officer Chris Kamon and the litigation funder California Legal professional Lending II. Kamon couldn’t be reached, and several other different defendants or their attorneys didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

William F. Savino, a lawyer for California Legal professional Lending II, stated his shopper “vigorously” denies Edelson’s claims, together with that its founder ensured the corporate acquired a “first minimize” of settlement funds within the Lion Air case.

Edelson founder Jay Edelson stated in an e-mail that the regulation agency feels “assured in our skill to show to a jury that the Girardi Keese agency was appearing as a prison enterprise.”

“We hope this case helps reply some bigger questions: How did the agency get away with it for thus a few years? Why has the California bar been absent? And what number of different individuals have been concerned?” he stated.

The grievance seeks $55 million in punitive or exemplary damages, in addition to further cash damages which can be redacted from the court docket submitting.

Underneath the deal accepted in Illinois federal court docket, the Lion Air crash victims’ households beforehand represented by Tom Girardi reassigned their claims to the Edelson agency. Any damages recovered by means of the brand new lawsuit will first cowl legal professional charges for Wisner Regulation Agency, a Chicago agency that’s now representing the 5 households and recoup the prices for Edelson and its insurer. Any remaining funds shall be divided between Edelson and the households.

Tom Girardi and Girardi Keese are usually not named within the grievance, and each are in chapter proceedings. Tom Girardi has not responded to allegations concerning the misuse of the Lion Air settlement funds however his attorneys have acknowledged the cash was not distributed. Tom Girardi couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

The California Supreme Courtroom final month disbarred Girardi and ordered him to pay over $2 million in restitution, together with to the kids of 4 of the Lion Air plaintiffs.

The case is Edelson PC vs. Lira, et al within the Northern District of California, No. 22-cv-3977.

(This story has been up to date with feedback from attorneys representing the defendants within the lawsuit.)

Learn extra:

Girardi regulation agency unethically recruited purchasers in Lion Air crash scheme, lawsuit alleges

Courtroom backs regulation agency’s take care of Girardi plaintiffs, paving manner for lawsuit

Regulation agency asks decide to permit $50 mln lawsuit in opposition to Erika Girardi, others

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Jacqueline Thomsen

Thomson Reuters

Jacqueline Thomsen, based mostly in Washington, DC, covers authorized information associated to coverage, the courts and the authorized career. Observe her on Twitter at @jacq_thomsen and e-mail her at [email protected].

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