Plaintiffs attorney Tom Girardi was in court Wednesday—this time, as the defendant, in a case brought against him by a litigation financier over an allegedly unpaid $15 million loan.
Girardi, the husband of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne, was set to argue why funder Law Finance Group LLC should not be able to go after a list of his personal assets, including his home in Pasadena, California, which is featured on the Bravo TV reality show. In court, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff said he had a tentative decision on the matter but allowed both sides to mediate outside of court for another two weeks before issuing a ruling.
“It’s not a complicated case,” he told the lawyers at the hearing. “You all have to come up with a plan.”
Girardi, represented in court by Christopher Good of Good Law in Los Angeles, declined to comment.
Appearing for Law Finance Group on Wednesday were Leslie Corwin and Christopher Frost of Eisner LLP. Frost also declined to comment.
Law Finance Group, based in Mill Valley, California, sued Girardi, of Girardi Keese in Los Angeles, claiming he refused to turn over fees he earned from cases to repay the loan. Earlier this month, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon granted Girardi’s motion to compel arbitration. But Law Finance Group filed a writ of attachment to secure some of Girardi’s assets, which also include Girardi Keese offices and the firm’s bank account, should it win in arbitration.
In an April 17 court filing responding to the writ, Girardi called the asset move a “charade.”
“What is abundantly clear from the filing of the complaint and this application for writ of attachments is that this matter is not driven by the desire to enforce the terms of the agreement but to exact retribution and to defame the reputation of Thomas V. Girardi under the guise of litigation privilege,” he wrote.
In a declaration, he called the lawsuit “fraudulent, slanderous and an abuse of the legal process,” particularly given that Law Finance Group owner Alan Zimmerman had a lien on his Pasadena home.
“Law Finance insisted that any and all disputes or issues concerning the loan go to mandatory arbitration,” he wrote. “Despite this agreement, the law firm filed a baseless case against the law firm and me personally full well knowing they had adequate protection in the form of my personal assets.”
In a reply filed Monday, Law Finance Group said Girardi does not have the funds to pay back the loan and is “actively soliciting more than $30 million in additional loans.” Girardi also has “embarked on an abusive campaign of threats and intimidation, for no other reason than the filing of this lawsuit,” including threatening to file a defamation suit against Law Finance Group, the reply says. Meanwhile, Girardi is “funneling millions of dollars” to someone else, whose name is redacted, “through loans to her company.”
“The fact that Girardi is using his law firm to fund” that person’s “career is troubling, especially when the law firm does not have the ability to pay its obligations,” Frost wrote.
Girardi’s finances have repeatedly been the subject of litigation since his wife joined the cast of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” in 2015.