Tom Girardi's Former Clients Granted Permission to Pursue Payments From Erika Jayne

A judge ruled Tom Girardi's former clients may sue Erika Jayne for the $11 million they say are owed from a past settlement. The reality star has since filed an opposition to the ruling.

By Cydney Contreras Jul 08, 2021 12:10 AMTags

Erika Jayne is facing another legal battle.

According to a court order obtained by E! News, a judge ruled that the Ruigomez family, who are former clients of Erika's estranged husband, Tom Girardi, may sue her for the $11 million he allegedly owes them from a 2013 settlement. 

As E! News previously reported, Tom represented the family in a lawsuit against the Pacific Gas & Electric company, after their son, Joseph Ruigomez, suffered near-fatal injuries from a gas line explosion. At the time, they were awarded an undisclosed amount as part of a settlement, but, as Kathy Ruigomez alleged in the ABC News documentary The Hustler & The Housewife, Tom allegedly promised to invest the settlement money and give Joseph a monthly allowance. 

However, the family told ABC News Tom allegedly stopped disbursing the settlement money and the family successfully sued Tom for legal malpractice and obtained a judgment order against him in April 2020.

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In April of this year, the Ruigomez family once again filed a complaint against Tom in his Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, claiming they had yet to receive the $11 million they were promised, according to Reuters, who obtained the complaint.

As a result, the family asked the judge to allow them to sue Erika for the money owed, citing a bankruptcy trustee's June report, filed with the court, that Tom's law firm Girardi-Keese allegedly gave Erika's businesses $20 million in loans, some of which may have come from settlement proceeds.

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This week, the judge signed off on the Ruigomez's request, with the court order reading, "All assets identified by the Ruigomez family shall be subject to all rights of the Girardi bankruptcy estate and the [Girardi Keese] bankruptcy estate, which parties shall meet and confer in good faith to determine the character/ownership of the identified assets."

Erika's attorney filed an opposition to the order on July 5.

This is the latest development in Erika and Tom's legal battles, which began in the fall of last year, shortly after the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star filed for divorce.

At the time, she said in a statement, "After much consideration, I have decided to end my marriage to Tom Girardi. This is not a step taken lightly or easily. I have great love and respect for Tom and for our years and the lives we built together."

Shortly after the divorce announcement, Tom's attorney raised questions about his mental competence and requested he undergo a mental evaluation. He was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's and put under a conservatorship. 

Additionally, Tom's lawyer told a judge in December that he does "not have the ability to pay." The judge subsequently ruled Tom was in civil contempt and ordered a freeze of all his assets.

Neither Tom nor Erika have publicly commented on the ongoing legal proceedings. 

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