Filing a lawsuit is one thing. Collecting on it is an entirely different matter. Mr. Richards, in an interview, acknowledged it’s unlikely that Ms. Girardi’s assets — clothes, jewelry and other items — are worth anything close to $25 million. Mr. Richards said he does not want to hurt Ms. Girardi and is open to a settlement.
But her lawyer said it’s premature to discuss a deal. “Everyone keeps piling on and trashing Erika for things she didn’t do,” Mr. Borges said, adding, “there is no hidden treasure.”
Meanwhile, the legal spectacle has left some victims exasperated.
Mr. Ruigomez was 19 when, in 2010, a gas explosion destroyed his family’s home in San Bruno, Calif., killing his girlfriend, burning him and severely damaging his lungs. He has since had nearly three dozen surgeries.
In 2013, Mr. Girardi secured an $11 million settlement on behalf of Mr. Ruigomez. Pacific Gas & Electric, the giant power company, paid…