LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Discipline charges were filed today by the State Bar of California against legendary attorney Tom Girardi alleging misappropriation of millions of dollars in client funds, dishonesty and other accusations.
The charges are not expected to have much of an impact on the 81-year-old Girardi as he was placed in a temporary conservatorship last month due to what his family claims is dementia and the bar moved his status to inactive this month, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Girardi's longtime Wilshire Boulevard law firm, Girardi & Keese, has collapsed amid numerous allegations that he misappropriated millions of dollars of money belonging to its clients and failed to pay creditors.
In December, 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.
The Times reported the State Bar's Los Angeles case cited, in addition to the Indonesia plane crash settlement, two other cases in particularclaiming Girardi failed to pay clients the financial settlements he secured for them.
-- Girardi allegedly withheld about $56,000 from a couple in a settlement in West Virginia against a medical device manufacturer;
-- A widow whose husband died in a boating accident in Lake Havasu, Arizona, failed to receive about $184,000 owed her by a settlement Girardi negotiated.
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.''
Girardi 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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