Law firm says Erika Jayne Girardi case to shift to California

2017 American Music Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 19/11/2017 – Singer and actress Erika Jayne. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

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  • Edelson law firm says it will refile its Chicago lawsuit against “Real Housewives” star in California
  • Firm accuses Erika Jayne and Tom Girardi of misusing client settlement funds

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(Reuters) – A law firm whose allegations against famed attorney Tom Girardi helped end his career said Wednesday it will withdraw its Chicago federal court lawsuit against Girardi’s wife, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne Girardi, and pursue it in California instead.

Chicago plaintiffs firm Edelson in December 2020 accused the Girardis of using $2 million in settlement funds meant for the families of victims of the 2018 Lion Air crash to bankroll their “glitz-and-glam” Hollywood lifestyle.

Erika Jayne Girardi through her lawyer has denied receiving settlement funds. Tom Girardi has not responded to the allegations, although attorneys for him have acknowledged the settlement funds in question were not distributed.

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Edelson’s case against Girardi, his defunct law firm Girardi Keese and two of the firm’s former attorneys will continue in Chicago federal court. Those attorneys, David Lira and Keith Griffin, said in court filings the firm’s accounts were controlled by Girardi.

Pursuing the lawsuit against Erika Girardi in California, where she and her company EJ Global LLC are based, will speed the case up by avoiding arguments over venue, said Edelson partner Eli Wade-Scott.

“We can be sure that we don’t waste time on arguments about where the case should be, and get straight to the heart of it: what did Erika get that should have gone to the victims’ families?” Wade-Scott said in a statement.

Wade-Scott outlined the firm’s plans to dismiss and refile the lawsuit during a Wednesday hearing before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in Chicago. The firm has not said where in California it will refile.

Evan Borges, a partner at Greenberg Gross representing Erika Girardi, said he also welcomed avoiding arguments over jurisdiction.

“I’m hoping that the additional time assists in getting the most complete picture of the evidence as possible, because it’s important that everyone understand Erika is completely innocent and never received any of the Boeing client funds,” Borges said in an email following Wednesday’s hearing.

Read more:

Tom Girardi and reality star wife sued for alleged theft of Lion Air settlement funds

Judge sanctions Tom Girardi and his firm over missing $2M, suggests criminal inquiry

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