Ninth Circuit Court Petitioned to Disbar Jerome Falk and Tom Girardi
Jerome “Jerry” Falk and Thomas Girardi are in trouble again. Don’t fret if you don’t recall their names. Other than environmental monsters, Central American countries, and American federal judges, few people do. They’re not household names despite Girardi having connections to a popular movie and a hit reality show.
Despite how it looks on television, attorneys don’t always get what they want. Too often when the brass ring is just out of reach, they reach anyway, and the results aren’t pretty. Falk and Girardi have reached — and missed — many times.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Asked to Disbar Jerome Falk and Tom Girardi
Jerome Falk was a Special Prosecutor for California’s State Bar. He was supposed to be prosecuting Tom Girardi of Girardi and Keese, and others; they were Falk’s clients during the time he was assumed to be prosecuting them. Once all this was revealed, plans got underway to seek Girardi’s and Falk’s disbarment.
In a letter to Falk and the California Bar’s Board of Governors, no holds were barred in accusing Falk and Girardi of “egregious” misconduct.
The entire letter can be read here.
Be warned, though. The relationship between the lawyers, prosecutors, judges and other addressed in the message is not easy to follow. The twisting and turning road to justice fogs the breakdown of morals and ethics.
That is a problem that seems to haunt Mr. Girardi in many of his business dealings.
Girardi has been practicing law for over 50-years. His firm specializes in personal injury, business, employment and environmental law. His wife, Erika Jayne, is one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; she may get to be in court to watch her high-powered husband defend himself.
Girardi made history in 1970 when he became the first attorney in California to win $1 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Life hasn’t always been so easy since then, but it has been, primarily, his fault.
Girardi Accused of Fraudulently Accessing Settlement Money
According to court documents filed in March 2016, Girardi has been sued in federal court. Accused of swindling patrons out of their piece of a $130 million dollar pie, Girardi, and his business partner, Robert Finnerty intend to fight it out.
The settlement which generated the million dollar heist came from a case Girardi won against Lockheed Martin.
Paul Kranich, Girardi’s former client and now plaintiff, is looking to retrieve $50 million dollars. Kranich alleges that Girardi misused money that was awarded to him and co-workers after they sued Lockheed for exposure to harmful chemicals.
Kranich’s complaint claims that Girardi didn’t pay the full settlement. Instead, they spent money for personal and unrelated business expenses and lied to the plaintiffs when it came time to tell where the money was going.
Kranich’s suit claims that Girardi conspired with other attorneys in his firm to commit “criminal deception, fraud, and breach of trust.” Kranich claims Girardi charged exorbitant and excessive fees — Girardi, according to Kranich, kept 40 percent of the Lockheed settlement when he had agreed to 33 percent — and fraudulently converted settlement proceeds.
Kranich described in judicial documents that Girardi made six-figure adjustments to clients he represented in other cases:
• $250,000 to an aeronautics company controlled by Girardi
• $100,000 to Girardi’s divorce attorney
• $350,000 to Western Bank
• $1 million to “Global Client Payments
• Over $825,000 to Lockheed litigation plaintiffs
• $500,000 payment to real estate escrow
Girardi’s response? “We have recorded a motion to get this bogus accusation rejected and are confident Mr. Kranich’s latest attempt will fail. I stand by and am satisfied with the work I do on the part of my clients.”
Enter Erin Brockovich
One of Girardi’s highest profile cases made Erin Brockovich a household name. Girardi and Brockovich took on Pacific Gas & Electric and won $333 million for their Hinkley, California clients.
The residents of the desert town faulted contaminated water leaking from a gas pumping station for high incidents of cancer.
Brockovich’s research and litigation was turned into a blockbuster of the same name.
In another high-profile case, Girardi was among a clutch of attorneys who tried to enforce a $490 million default judgment entered by a court in Nicaragua against Dole Food and Shell Chemical.
American courts determined that Girardi and others submitted a flawed translation of the Nicaraguan documents. Girardi and his cohorts were reprimanded and their law firm fined for violation of their responsibility to be open and transparent with the courts.