California Bar Hires Law Firm to Investigate Handling of Tom Girardi Complaints


Thomas Girardi. REUTERS/Irfan Khan

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  • Girardi, wife accused of misusing client settlement funds Girardi trial inspired film ‘Erin Brockovich’

(Reuters) – California prosecutor regulators said on Monday they had hired a law firm to investigate the state bar association’s handling of past complaints against the plaintiffs’ prominent attorney , Thomas Girardi.

Girardi and his wife, ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ star Erika Jayne Girardi, have been in the legal headlines since December 2020, when a rival law firm accused them of using settlement funds intended to the families of the victims of the 2018 Lion Air crash to fund a lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

The State Bar of California engaged Halpern May Ybarra Gelberg, a California-based litigation boutique, to assess “whether intentional wrongdoing by someone associated with the State Bar may have influenced how complaints against Girardi have been processed”, Ruben Duran, president of the board of directors of the bar. trustees, said in a statement.

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The Los Angeles Times reported that Girardi’s friendly relationship with state bar officials allowed him to maintain a clear disciplinary record despite past allegations of misconduct.

“We have proactively done everything in our power to learn from the past and do better in the future to prevent such damage from happening again,” Duran said in a statement Monday.

The state bar has charged Girardi, whose case against Pacific Gas & Electric Co that inspired the Oscar-winning movie “Erin Brockovich,” with misappropriating money owed to customers in three cases. A bar tribunal earlier this month recommended his disbarment. The California Supreme Court has yet to rule on the recommendation.

Girardi did not respond to the bar association’s allegations and did not participate in the disciplinary proceedings. Girardi’s legal and personal affairs are handled by his brother and conservator, Robert. Robert Girardi did not respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers for Girardi and his former law firm Girardi Keese admitted in federal court that $2 million in settlement funds in the Lion Air case had not been distributed. Erika Girardi did not respond in this case; lawyers also did not appear for her. Representatives for Erika Girardi did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The state bar said in June that it conducted a confidential audit of past complaints against Tom Girardi. Duran said the new investigation will also be confidential.

The founding partners of Halpern May did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more:

Too little or too late ban charges still needed against Girardi, experts say

California State Bar revokes Tom Girardi’s law license, citing conservatorship status

Tom Girardi and his reality TV star wife sued over alleged theft of Lion Air settlement funds

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