Fans of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are captivated by the continuing legal saga of star Erika Jayne and husband Tom Girardi, but they may not be aware just how much damage the unceasing lawsuits are doing to Girardi's financial portfolio. Girardi, a lawyer whose firm Girardi & Keese was famous for suing big companies and taking home even bigger paychecks, is embroiled in a very public divorce from Jayne. And yet some claim the divorce is a sham, attempting to shield the couple from the real issues: Girardi's many lawsuits alleging that his firm owes "tens of millions of dollars" (via the Los Angeles Times) in settlement payouts. It's quite the mess.
Girardi, whose most famous case was the basis for the brilliant 2000 film Erin Brockovich, had a storied career even before his reality-TV-star wife became famous. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the pair met when he was in his 60s and she, only in her late 20s, waited tables in the Beverly Hills restaurant that he co-owned. They'd been married for 21 years when they separated in November 2020, and didn't have a prenuptial agreement (per LA Times), so the division of their assets is likely to be a big sticking point in the divorce.
While Girardi was rumored to be worth around $264 million in 2015, that does not seem to be the case now. What happened to affect his worth, and where does he stand now? Let's find out.
Tom Girardi's many court cases are weighing him down
In Tom Girardi's early law career, he made a name for himself by taking on big companies such as Lockheed Corp and Pacific Gas & Electric, the company behind the famous water pollution case in Erin Brockovich. Per Celebrity Net Worth, he became famous for winning a medical malpractice suit with an enormous settlement of more than $1 million. Between his many big lawsuits and his standing at his own law firm — not to mention jewelry, antiques, two private planes, and a $15 million Los Angeles estate — he was estimated at a net worth of $264 million in 2015. However, he also claimed the legal fees his law firm owed were more than $110 million.
Creditors and claimants are now suing Girardi for the money they say he never paid out for lawsuits his firm settled. Some have gone so far as to bring about fraud and embezzlement charges, including one creditor, Law Finance Group, who noticed that millions of dollars were going into Erika Jayne's entertainment corporation instead of being paid to Girardi's clients (via Bloomberg Law).
Girardi's law firm was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2020, and two of his former partners also say they're owed money. But Girardi no longer seems to have any. In a testimony reported by the Los Angeles Times, Girardi said the reportedly $80 million holdings he had and his $50 million stock portfolio were now "all gone." Celebrity Net Worth says Girardi is now worth $100,000.