Meta Tag. The California State Bar Discipline charges the popular Atty. Tom Girardi, alleging that he had misappropriated significant millions of client funds, dishonesty, and other acts of moral turpitude during his practice in the realm of law.
Simply put, the disciplinary actions will have little effect on the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member. At the age of 81, Girardi was placed in a temporary conservatorship since according to reports, the lawyer is suffering from dementia and was placed at an inactive state by the bar.
In other words, the disciplinary charges carry significant symbolic weight for bar regulators, who have been in the lens for their handling of the famed attorney over the period. Girardi, recognized as politically genius and one of California’s big-time lawyers, kept a clean license with the bar despite a lot of records of malpractice and unfounded suits not to mention the unsatisfied clients.
The fall of Girardi manifested in the year 2020 after his singer-actress wife, Erika Jayne, filed for divorce and praised Wilshire Boulevard firm stopped operations. Based on court papers, Girardi owes more than $56 million to lenders, former clients, and creditors. A 19-pager complaint filed in the Los Angeles Court specifies three (3) cases in 2020 where Girardi allegedly failed to quickly and timely submit financial settlements he had negotiated for his clients.
In one settlement case in Virginia involving a medical device manufacturer, a couple represented by Girardi’s firm was due more or less $56,000 based on the filing. The lawyer Girardi did not pass the money on even though the manufacturer wired the payment on time. He even told his clients falsely months later that he was still waiting for the court order. As of writing, Michael and Josefina Hernandez have not received their settlement funds.
Meanwhile, in an accident case concerning a widow whose husband died while boating at Lake Havasu in Arizona. This famed lawyer secured her client, Judy Selberg about half a million dollars settlement last March, but it was found that the same is obtaining a 40% cut instead of the 33% share stipulated in the contract. He also failed to pass on almost $200,000 owed her.
Another penultimate case showcased by the bar is a Federal suit against Boeing over a plane crash in Indonesia. A Chicago judge ordered Girardi held in contempt because of misappropriating more than $2million because of the victim’s orphans and widows. The bar calls Girardi’s statement “false and misleading” nothing that the money hasn’t been paid yet when he assured his co-counsel that the settlement has already been paid.
Meanwhile, Attorney Diane Karpman declines to comment on the charges filed against Girardi. This prompted the State Bar to act on it because of his ability to ignore more than a hundred suits against him and his firm in general since the early 80s. The bar has made an aggressive stance against the camp of Girardi and just this August, agency lawyers challenge the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease by a psychiatrist relative to the case on conservatorship. It is highly doubted by Prosecutor James Chang that the conservatorship proceedings emanated during “unusual circumstances” and only after the famed lawyer became entangled in mounting legal quandaries not to mention that the same is facing urgent State Bar Discipline. More so, the brother of Girardi attempted to resign the license of the famed lawyer stating that his brother is presently not capacitated to practice law, a scenario that is unluckily never to change.
Accordingly, the bar rejected the move. To add to the sorrow, the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, more commonly known as CAALA, voted to revoke the given awards it previously granted on Girardi like his induction to the trade group’s hall of fame. Also, they opted to remove the membership but before the process consummates, the famed lawyer resigned.
Genie Harrison, speaking through CAALA, said in a statement, “We are appalled by the victimization of clients to whom a fiduciary duty is owed, and our sympathies extend to those lawyers and vendors whose trust was violated.”
What the outcome is, will be in the hands of the Bar.