State Bar Seeks Disbarment of Girardi’s Son-in-Law, Lira
Office of Chief Counsel Also Wants Lifting of License of Former Associate in Girardi | Keese
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel announced on Friday that it is seeking the disbarment of Thomas V. Girardi’s son-in-law, David Lira.
It will also seek an order by the California Supreme Court yanking the law license of Keith David Griffin, a former associate in Girardi’s firm, Girardi |Keese, it said.
Lira and Griffin had complicity, it alleges, in Girardi failing to disburse more than $3 million in settlement funds to families of those who died in the 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 shortly after its takeoff in Indonesia.
The notice of disciplinary charges, filed Wednesday, alleges that Lira misappropriated more than $743,000 of the funds.
During a three-month period in 2020, it asserts, Lira wrote 270 checks, totaling $2,782,051.83, from his client trust account “to individuals and entities that were unrelated to the client families in the Lion Air matter.” In doing so, it sets forth, Lira “intentionally and knowingly caused $743.936.43 of the client families’ settlement funds to be misappropriated.”
Lying Under Oath
The notice says that Lira repeatedly lied under oath. Among the allegations is this:
“By falsely testifying under oath during the evidentiary hearing on or about December 8. 2021, that he was aware of only a single prior incident of the Girardi firm delaying by at least one month and one half to pay a client, respondent committed an act or acts involving mora; turpitude, dishonesty or corruption in willful violation of Business and Professions Code section 6106”
The notice adds:
“A violation of section 6106 may result from intentional conduct or grossly negligent conduct. Respondent is charged with intentionally providing false testimony under oath. However, should the evidence at trial demonstrate that respondent provided false testimony under oath as a result of gross negligence, respondent must still be found culpable of violating section 6106 because providing false testimony under oath as the result of gross negligence is a lesser included offense of intentionally providing false testimony under oath.”
Charges Against Griffin
Griffin, it is alleged, participated in concealing the existence of a settlement from the clients, assisted Girardi, Lira, and the now-defunct firm of Girardi | Keese in their efforts to conceal the settlement, and lied under oath.
In addition to the 11 counts contained in the notice relating to the air crash settlement funds, a separate notice alleges that Lira pocketed more than $369,000 of settlement funds connected to a 2014 collision between a Caltrans dump truck and an automobile. Two were killed and several persons were injured.
Lira and Girardi are charged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with eight counts of wire fraud and four counts of criminal contempt of court related to the air crash case. Griffin does not face criminal charges.
Girardi, who is now disbarred, also faces criminal charges in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Lira now works for the law firm of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack. Walter Lack of that firm frequently teamed with Girardi in trials and was implicated with him in efforts to exact payments from Dole Food Corporation as a supposed debtor on a $489 million Nicaraguan judgment when it was not a party to the litigation.
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