The brother of Thomas Girardi won’t be appointed guardian ad litem for the toxic tort and product liability lawyer’s personal estate, after a bankruptcy judge in the Central District of California said the state probate court had already resolved the issue.
The court only has to appoint a guardian ad litem for an incompetent debtor’s estate when the debtor is not otherwise represented, the court said. And Robert Girardi, Thomas’ brother, has already been appointed temporary conservator by the state probate court, with authorization to contract on his brother’s behalf, Judge Barry Russell said in the Thursday order.
Although he denied the motion on other grounds, Russell said he viewed allegations in an opposition to the appointment request, filed by Chicago law firm Edelson PC—who is among Girardi’s creditors—to be “very serious.”
“The Court would have expected RG to have filed a timely reply if he considered the allegations to be erroneous, and to have provided the Court with evidence to contradict these allegations,” but nothing was filed, Russell said.
Edelson’s opposition catalogs examples of Girardi conducting himself cogently, with “a good command of the facts and his surroundings,” and cites examples of Girardi signing declarations and other legal papers in his own name through at least Nov. 30, 2020.
According to Edelson’s filing, Girardi only started claiming cognitive problems in December, after he faced possible criminal charges for allegedly stealing from clientsin the Boeing Lion Air crash litigation—and from firms like Edelson who he once worked with on those cases.
Edelson’s account and examples, which includes relatively recent public appearances by Girardi, stand in stark contrast to assertions made by Robert Girardi in court filings.
Robert says his brother’s short-term memory is so severely compromised that he’s unable to care for himself without help, that he is at times disoriented, and that Thomas lacks the ability to understand the seriousness of his various legal entanglements, including his ongoing divorce from “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Erika Jayne.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California separately denied the appointment request with respect to Thomas Girardi’s law firm, Girardi Keese, on the basis that a guardian ad litem can’t be appointed for an entity debtor.
The state probate court will hold a hearing on the conservatorship March 15.