California Law Today: Tom, what a year you’ve had! Is there anything you’re not working on right now?
Tom Girardi: Well, we’ve been very, very lucky. We have just the greatest group of lawyers who work very hard to earn the trust of these great clients we have.
CLT: No question. You have a truly amazing group of attorneys at Girardi | Keese. Tell me about how you came to file the first case against the NFL for player concussions?
TG: We were contacted by some former players who were getting very concerned about memory problems. Through our work with leading brain injury specialists, we were able to determine that their years playing football probably caused the problems they were having, and that the NFL has known about this for years.
CLT: What did you hope to achieve for the players in your role as lead counsel?
TG: Above and beyond financial compensation, we see it as our job to make sure players get the care they need, so there are no more suicides of those who want their brains studied. That’s just the saddest thing. And we want to make sure the NFL is serious about making this great game as safe as it can be. And not just at the pro levels. From Pop Warner on, we need to be proactive about head injuries.
CLT: We’ve also talked about your concerns about budget cuts to California’s courthouses, which are quite severe.
TG: We have a crisis going on here. You cannot have justice in a society where we won’t pay to keep the lights on in the courthouse. We have to do a much better job of valuing justice, as well as the judges and their staff who work so hard to make sure we uphold our pledge of justice for all.
CLT: And, finally, what about the Bryan Stow case. Could you ever have imagined the Dodgers would be sold to a great group of owners and the case would still be unresolved?
TG: There is no question the sale of the Dodgers was one of the great moments in Los Angeles history. I have every confidence the new owners will do everything they can to do right by Bryan Stow.
CLT: And what about Frank McCourt?
TG: As the fans say, ‘Good riddance!’ Here is a man who took a mountain, made it into a molehill and still made millions. We still have to work with him to get compensation for Bryan and we are hopeful that now that he’s done so very well with the sale, he will get serious about his obligations to Bryan Stow and his children.
CLT: It was unforgettable to watch Tyler Stow throw the opening pitch at the Giants’ Home Opener.
TG: I have to tell you that brought a tear to my eye. No child should ever have to see his parent suffer as Tyler and Tabitha have watched their dad suffer. So for that young man to take the mound and give it all he had for his dad. Well, that was a good moment.
CLT: Tom, thank you so much. Your love of the law is absolutely infectious.
TG: Nothing is more important than helping people. I’m so fortunate to be able to do that every day.