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‘Real Housewives’ lawyer had shut ties to some state bar officers, by no means confronted ethics fees regardless of accusations



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Los Angeles trial lawyer Tom Girardi, the husband of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne, was continuously accused of wrongdoing in lawsuits, but he by no means confronted disciplinary fees by the State Bar of California.

According to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, Girardi and his legislation agency, Girardi Keese, confronted no less than 45 lawsuits accusing them of authorized malpractice or misappropriation of consumer cash. Another estimated 14 suits claimed that attorneys or specialists by no means obtained charges that they had earned. Girardi received among the instances and settled a few of them earlier than trial.

One latest lawsuit, filed Dec. 2, accused Girardi and his legislation agency of embezzling settlement proceeds meant for widows and orphans who misplaced family members within the October 2018 crash of a Boeing 737 Max. The choose within the case referred Girardi to federal prosecutors.

“What is undisputed,” the Los Angeles Times reported, “is that Girardi had a lot of dissatisfied clients.”

But Girardi escaped ethics fees at a time when he “cultivated close relationships with bar officials that at times appeared improper,” the Los Angeles Times stated.

The newspaper’s investigation alleged:

• Girardi invited bar workers members every year to his annual convention in Las Vegas, “where Girardi hosted over-the-top parties at the Wynn casino featuring Jay Leno and other celebrity entertainers.”

• After a lawyer at Girardi’s legislation agency turned bar president in 2009, the bar employed a brand new government director, Joe Dunn, who was a good friend of Girardi’s. Dunn was accused of violating coverage by utilizing a state bank card to pay for airfare to Mongolia whereas advising on a lawyer regulatory system. Before Dunn submitted an expense report, Girardi’s legislation agency despatched a $5,000 verify to the bar.

• While under investigation for misconduct in 2010, Girardi paid for “a lavish retirement bash” for the retiring chief justice of the California Supreme Court, which oversees the bar, and for the departing state bar president. Singer Paul Anka carried out on the occasion, hosted on the state bar’s conference.

• Girardi “forged a particularly tight relationship” with bar investigator Tom Layton. Girardi treated Layton to “pricey meals,” gave two of his youngsters jobs at Girardi’s legislation agency, allowed Layton to trip on his personal jet, and did free authorized work for him. Layton, who left the bar in 2015, has stated he by no means labored on any investigation involving Girardi Keese.

“The bar’s inaction came at a profound cost,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Orphans, widows, a burn victim and other vulnerable clients who trusted Girardi to win them justice have instead lost millions of dollars apparently spent or otherwise misappropriated, according to judges’ orders in the recent cases.”

The California bar’s chief trial counsel, Jayne Kim, who was employed to professionalize the state bar’s disciplinary system, expressed issues about Layton and Dunn. Munger, Tolles & Olson was employed to research. Its report raised issues about ties between some senior officers and Girardi Keese.

Dunn was fired in November 2014, and Layton’s place was eradicated.

A state bar spokeswoman advised the Los Angeles Times that confidentiality guidelines prevented the bar from answering questions on investigations.

“Beyond those constraints is the reality that much of what you are asking about concerns a time period many years past,” the spokeswoman stated. “The current board of trustees and staff leadership team have no knowledge of the information you are seeking.”

See additionally:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge freezes assets of winning ‘Erin Brockovich’ law firm after suit alleges stolen settlement funds”

ABAJournal.com: “Afternoon Briefs: Rappers awarded $2.8M over Katy Perry song; lawyer killed outside courthouse by pickup truck”

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer with reality star wife will have to produce net worth documents in misappropriation suit”


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