A judge ruled on July 6 that Tom Girardi’s former clients are able to pursue a collections lawsuit against his estranged wife, Erika Girardi, also known as Erika Jayne.

Tom’s former clients Joseph Ruigomez, Jaime Ruigomez and Kathleen Ruigomez were ordered to be paid $11 million he owes them from litigation in 2020.

Tom and his law firm, Girardi Keese, are being investigated by a bankruptcy trustee. Weeks after the bankruptcy trustee’s special litigation counsel said that Girardi Keese used $20 million for Erika’s businesses. As a result, the Ruigomez’s are now able to move forward with their suit against Erika.

“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,” the new document said. “The Ruigomez Family, the Girardi Trustee, and the GK Trustee shall cooperate with each other with their collection efforts against Erika.”

The Ruigomez’s story was reported in a documentary in June, The Housewife and the Hustler, which delved into the legal issues Tom and Erika are facing. Joe Ruigomez shared his experience working with Tom and said he believes Tom tricked him and his family on their settlement money.

Joe’s family hired Tom after he was severely injured in the San Bruno pipeline explosion in 2010. “We thought he could win [the case for us],” his sister, Jamie said in the documentary. “We didn’t know how much of a snake he would be along the way.”

After the lawsuit was sorted out for the Ruigomez family in 2013, Tom proposed that he put the multimillion-dollar settlement in one of his investments and distribute the money on a monthly basis. The family stopped receiving payments from the settlement, which made them skeptical about Tom’s intentions. Joe claimed Tom became increasingly difficult to contact and didn’t give straight answers when he was asked about the money.

Joe said that by 2017, the payments “disappeared completely.” The family decided to file a lawsuit so that they could receive the remaining funds. Tom allegedly agreed to pay them $12 million in 2020. He signed a document that said he would make an initial payment of $1 million and the second payment of $2.5 million.

“He never got to the second payment,” Joe’s mother, Kathy, said.

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