LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The brother of well-known civil plaintiffs' attorney Tom Girardi filed a petition in federal bankruptcy court today seeking appointment as his sibling's guardian, maintaining that the 81-year-old lawyer is mentally incompetent.
Seal Beach dentist Robert Girardi says in his court papers that his sibling does not comprehend the extent of the legal and financial problems before him, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Girardi's longtime Wilshire Boulevard law firm, Girardi & Keese, has collapsed amid numerous allegations that he misappropriated millions of dollars of money belonging to his law firm clients and failed to pay creditors.
Last month, a federal judge in Chicago froze Girardi's assets, finding that he had misappropriated at least $2 million in client funds that were due to families of people killed in a plane crash in Indonesia.
Girardi also is involved in divorce proceedings with “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'' cast member Erika Jayne, to whom he has been married since 1999. He has appeared alongside his wife on her Bravo series on several occasions.
In a sworn declaration, Robert Girardi said his older brother has short-term memory loss, The Times reported.
“My brother is incapable of realizing and understanding the repercussions of the bankruptcy filings pending against him and his law firm ... notwithstanding having (it) explained to him over and over and by various people,'' his declaration reads. “Furthermore, my brother is not capable of making rational decisions with respect to his financial responsibilities and offers solutions and opinions that are factually impossible.''
Robert Girardi, 77, said he will soon bring a separate petition in Los Angeles Superior Court for the establishment of a conservatorship over his brother, The Times reported.
Tom Girardi in 1970 became the first attorney in California to win a $1 million-plus award in a medical malpractice case, and is known for a landmark case against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. over contaminated water in the desert community of Hinkley, which was the inspiration for the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich.''
He was the lead plaintiff's attorney when the Los Angeles Dodgers were found partially liable in July 2014 in the 2011 Dodger Stadium parking lot beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was awarded nearly $18 million in damages.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury found former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt not negligent, while the two men who attacked Stow were found to have most of the responsibility for the harm that came to the former Northern California paramedic.
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