I have previously reported extensively on Teresa Guidice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and her stint in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud. There’s a another housewife in the news these days or, more particularly, her husband. Erika Girardi, aka Erika Jayne, is the newest cast member of the Beverly Hills franchise and is married to a prominent attorney, Thomas Girardi. Thomas Girardi has made a name for himself as a class action attorney who has won millions in consumer protection and product liability actions. In fact, he was the actual lawyer who pursued the class action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric as depicted in the biopic Erin Brockovich.
Now a lawsuit has been filed against Girardi and his law firm in which former clients of Girardi have alleged he misused their settlement funds to cover his personal expenses. These former clients have filed discovery to obtain documentation of Girardi’s personal net worth and, in support of this request, the clients have argued Mr. Girardi has made his finances public by appearing on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with his wife. At this stage of the proceedings, Girardi’s response has been “it’s the price you pay for success.” Charming, huh?
It is worth noting Mr. Girardi’s law firm has produced settlement statements and releases signed by each of the complaining former clients acknowledging the attorney’s fees and costs associated with each of their claims. Despite delving into Mr. Girardi’s finances due to his exposure on The Real Housewives, this may be much ado about nothing unless the plaintiffs have some evidence of embezzlement. Otherwise his personal net worth would have little to do with issues surrounding the allocation of class action settlement funds.
It is clear the Girardi’s are paying a price for their success and their exposure on a Real Housewives show. However, for all of us in the regular world – if you are experiencing difficulties with your finances and are exploring solutions to the problem, please contact one of our locations nearest you in Alabama, Mississippi or Tennessee for a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced, licensed attorneys.
Carla M. Handy is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Gadsden and Anniston, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law. She has been helping families navigate consumer bankruptcy cases since 1994.Read her full bio here.