Tom Girardi and wife Erika Jayne during the episode “Horsing Around" of the Bravo television show "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," which aired Dec. 15, 2015. (Photo by Bravo)
Plainitffs lawyer Thomas Girardi has been hit with a lawsuit from a litigation funder claiming that he and his firm have failed to repay more than $15 million in loans.
Mill Valley-based Law Finance Group LLC sued Girardi and his firm, Girardi Keese, on Jan. 17 in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming the defendants refused to hand over recovered fees from cases that the parties allegedly agreed they'd use to repay the loans.
Girardi, the husband of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Erika Jayne, didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Read the complaint:
According to the lawsuit, Girardi and the firm have so far failed to make any payments on the debt totaling $15,151,989, but Girardi has pointed to the firm's recent successes to assure the funder it will "eventually" be repaid.
"As a prominent civil litigator, Mr. Girardi of all people should understand the consequences of breaching a loan and security agreement and a personal guaranty," wrote the funder's lawyers at Eisner APC. "Nevertheless, Mr. Girardi and his law firm, Girardi Keese, have admitted to breaching their obligations under their written agreements with the plaintiff—written agreements to borrow funds that, on information and belief, were used to maintain Mr. Girardi's lavish lifestyle and to keep his prominent law firm financially afloat, causing significant harm to the plaintiff."
According to the lawsuit, Law Finance Group had discovered by April 2016 that Girardi breached the loan agreement by granting at least four security interests to third parties. The suit claims that as part of a forbearance agreement, Girardi agreed to pay $1 million by Oct. 31, 2018, and $5 million by no later than Jan. 1, but no payments have been made.
Leslie Corwin of Eisner APC, the funder's lawyer, said in a phone interview Tuesday that his client has initiated a mediation outlined in the parties' loan agreement, but filed suit in order to pursue Girardi's assets.
"We just want to get paid," Corwin said. "We’re about to go in and attach assets, including his house in Pasadena."
Girardi's finances have been in the litigation spotlight since his wife joined the cast of the Bravo reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” in 2015. He was ordered to turn over documents in 2016 detailing his personal net worth and firm finances in a lawsuit alleging he misappropriated more than $12.5 million from a settlement over the hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro.
Also, a Woodland Hills lawyer unsuccessfully pursued claims against Girardi and the firm, claiming they charged excessive costs to class members involving $130 million in settlement funds for former Lockheed Martin employees in toxic tort lawsuits.
Among the cases whose proceeds are listed as collateral in the loan agreement attached to Law Finance Group's complaint are cases Girardi has handled that yielded a $2.4 billion settlement with Takeda Pharmaceuticals over claims the company failed to warn of bladder cancer risks associated with the drug Actos and In Re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, where federal judge in Pennsylvania previously has scrutinized underlying litigation funding agreements.