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Lion Air Crash Judge Cautions Girardi’s Wife Over Clothes Sales

Dec. 22, 2020, 11:07 PM

Chicago-based law firm Edelson PC told the Illinois federal court overseeing the Lion Air crash cases that it was withdrawing its motion to enforce a court order freezing the assets of plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas Girardi against his wife Erika Girardi, better known as reality television star Erika Jayne.

Edelson’s motion to enforce the asset freeze was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Dec. 18, after Jayne began advertising on Twitter that she was selling “tens of thousands of dollars’ worth” of her high-end designer clothes. According to Edelson, Girardi retains an interest in his estranged wife’s clothing.

Erika Girardi filed for divorce from Tom Girardi in early November.

Edelson told Judge Thomas M. Durkin that although the legal issues are thorny, it believes that it’s precluded from pursuing the motion further given the bankruptcy proceedings filed the same day against Girardi and his law firm, Girardi Keese, and the related automatic stays on actions brought by creditors.

The underlying asset freeze was imposed after Girardi and GK were held in contempt of court for failing to distribute and allegedly embezzling client settlement funds paid by Boeing to resolve claims brought by family members killed in the 2018 crash of Lion Air flight 610.

Durkin instructed Jayne’s attorney to inform her of the risk of selling any joint assets. Whether Edelson pursues its motion, there is a freeze in place, Durkin said.

As for distribution of the settlement money, counsel for the Lion Air plaintiffs told the judge she doesn’t believe that the bankruptcy stays apply to their motionfor judgment against Girardi and his firm.

But Durkin wasn’t so sure, saying that he believes that they do. Durkin said, however, that he will consider any authority she can offer showing why pursing the motions further won’t violate the stay.

Counsel for Girardi Keese said that it believes the bankruptcy trustee, whenever one is appointed, will be best suited to handle the claims. Girardi’s individual counsel said that although she agrees that the trustee should likely oversee the claims, she has been unable to effectively communicate with her client due to his cognitive impairment.

Durkin indicated that Girardi may need to testify as a witness in further contempt proceedings, unless, following a competency hearing, the court determines that Girardi is unable to testify.

Girardi Keese is represented by Monico & Spevack. Thomas Girardi is represented by Monico Law. Erika Girardi is represented by Matthew Wasserman. And the Lion Air plaintiffs are represented by Wisner Law.

The case is In re: Lion Air Flight 610 Crash, N.D. Ill., No. 1:18-cv-07686, hearing 12/22/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Barker in Washington at hbarker@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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