Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne has been dismissed from Tom Girardi’s ongoing fraud and embezzlement lawsuit — in Illinois, that is.
If you need reminding, in December 2020, law firm Edelson PC sued Jayne's estranged husband, Tom Girardi, on behalf of the families of the Lion Air flight JT 610 crash victims.
Over two years prior in October 2018, the Lion Air flight crashed into the sea less than 13 minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crew members. Girardi — who rose to prominence as a lawyer on the real Erin Brockovich case — had been representing the victims’ families.
In the ongoing lawsuit — which was filed in Chicago federal court — representatives for the families of the plane crash victims are accusing Girardi and his now-defunct law firm, Girardi & Keese, of embezzling $2 million from the settlement intended for the victims’ families.
Along with her estranged husband, Jayne was named in the lawsuit because the firm claimed that Girardi had stolen the funds “in order to continue funding his and Erika's lavish Beverly Hills lifestyles.”
Just one month before this in November 2020, Jayne publicly filed for divorce from Girardi after 21 years of marriage. As a result, the pair were also accused of orchestrating a “sham” divorce in an attempt to “fraudulently protect” the allegedly stolen funds.
Jayne dismissed the allegations of a “sham divorce” during an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that aired in July 2021, calling the claims “insane.” When asked about her alleged involvement in her husband’s legal troubles in the same episode, Jayne vehemently denied any knowledge and said she had been brought into the lawsuit by default.
“You have to remember: It is the firm that they’re dragging in,” she said at the time. “So they’re suing the firm, and I’m being attached to it.”
However, in June 2021 an ABC News special, The Housewife and the Hustler, shed light on a new lawsuit that alleges that Girardi transferred $20 million in loans from his defunct law firm to Jayne's company EJ Global LLC.
But during the RHOBHSeason 11 reunion, which aired in late 2021, Jayne — who was well known for her excessive glam squad and opulence — once again denied the allegations that her extravagant lifestyle was being funded by her husband’s company and fraudulent assets.
“I do not work at Girardi Keese, all the financials are kept there,” she said after the host Andy Cohen asked if she had known about the alleged fraud and embezzlement.
And now, as Edelson PC continues to fight for the Lion Air flight victims’ reimbursement, a new development has emerged.
On Jan. 29, legal documents obtained by Page Six state that — nearly 14 months after the lawsuit was first filed — Jayne has been officially dismissed from the case.
“Pursuant to stipulation, plaintiff’s claims against defendants EJ Global LLC and Erika Girardi are dismissed without prejudice and without costs,” the documents read.
Jayne celebrated the legal win on Instagram, first sharing an old photo of herself performing onstage with her fist raised to the air in triumph. On Sunday, the reality star went on to post a selfie with her RHOBH costars, captioned: “THIS is a good time.”
That same day, she posted on her Instagram story to directly express her gratitude. Seemingly describing the monthslong legal battle as a “marathon,” she wrote: “Thank you to my friends that know me. It’s a marathon. I love you! E x.”
But despite publicly celebrating her dismissal, it seems that the legalities aren't over yet.
Shortly after reports of Jayne's dismissal surfaced online, the founder and CEO of Edelson PC, Jay Edelson, called out several news outlets, stating that — while the original case against Girardi will continue in Chicago — his firm intends to refile their lawsuit in California.
“The suit is being refiled in California (to avoid fights over jurisdiction). No chance we are letting @erikajayne off the hook, especially given the evidence we have found. All money will go fully to the victims until they are made whole,” Edelson wrote on Twitter.
“We have not stopped pursuing @erikajayne, just switching courts. We believe we can prove she benefitted from Tom's ponzi scheme,” he went on. “Her lawyer is ---again- misleading the public.”
He doubled down on these comments in a statement issued to Entertainment Weekly on Sunday, reiterating that Jayne's legal battle isn’t quite over.
“We have learned a lot about Erika and [her company] EJ Global over the last year, including how they choose to conduct business, the extent to which they knew of and benefitted from Tom's fraud, and how they have taken this tragedy and made more money off of it than most people earn in a lifetime,” Edelson said.
“We are very confident that, in the end, we will be able to demonstrate to a jury that Erika and EJ Global are legally responsible to return the money they have from the Lion Air widows and orphans,” he went on. “We also believe that, based on recent positions she has taken publicly and in the courts, we can pursue broader theories that may make her legally responsible for Tom's decade-long ponzi scheme. Erika and EJ Global will be held to account.”
Despite Edelson’s plans to refile, Jayne's lawyer, Evan Borges, issued a statement of his own stating that Jayne’s recent dismissal still marks a key turning point in the ongoing litigation.
“While Edelson retains the right to re-file in California, the dismissal of Erika from the federal lawsuit that triggered bankruptcies of Girardi Keese and Tom Girardi is extremely important,” Borges said, going on to defend his client.
“For example, the recent three-day evidentiary hearing in the Boeing case showed that Erika had ZERO role in what [Girardi Keese] and Edelson discussed, did, and didn't do, whether as between each other or as to their clients. In fact, I'm informed Erika's name didn't even come up at the hearing,” he went on.
“We want Edelson to get the most complete picture of the evidence as possible, and have no issue with further investigation. But the truth matters,” he added. “Here, the truth is that Erika had no role in the Lion Air dealings, actions, or inaction as between the attorneys and their clients, and she never received any of the Lion Air client settlement funds.”
Meanwhile, Jayne is currently filming for the 12th season of RHOBH, meaning we’ll likely get more information about the ongoing legal battle when the reality show returns to air later this year.