- Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the disgraced blood-testing startup Theranos, has been in and out of court since the company’s inaccuracies and shortcomings were exposed in 2015.
- Last week, the attorneys defending Holmes against a class-action suit filed a motion to withdraw from representing her, saying they haven’t been paid in over a year.
- The lawyers said that given Holmes’ “current financial situation” they don’t expect to ever get paid for their services and that it would be “unfair and unreasonable” for them to continue representing her.
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Three attorneys defending Elizabeth Holmes in federal court are trying to quit the case because they say the Theranos founder, once valued at $4.5 billion, hasn’t paid them in over a year.
The lawyers, who work at the law firm Cooley, have been representing Holmes against a federal class-action lawsuit brought on by former Theranos patients who allege their blood tests from the startup yielded inaccurate results and caused them to undertake unnecessary medical costs.
However, the attorneys filed a motion last week to withdraw as counsel for Holmes, saying Holmes hasn’t paid Cooley for its defense work “for more than a year.” The law firm said that it doesn’t expect Holmes to ever pay it for services, given her “current financial situation,” and that it would be “unfair and unreasonable” for it to continue representing her, the documents said.
The Mercury News first reported on the lawyers’ motion to withdraw as counsel.
Read more: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes faces jail time for fraud charges. Her trial is set to begin in summer 2020.
The class-action suit was filed in 2016 in Phoenix, where Theranos operated several blood-testing “wellness centers” out of Walgreens stores in the area. Holmes, Walgreens, and Theranos, who are also named as defendants, have all denied wrongdoing in the case. No trial date has been set.
The civil lawsuit in question is separate from the one involving criminal charges against Holmes that could result in jail time. In that case, the Department of Justice has charged Holmes and Theranos’ former president, Sunny Balwani, with multiple counts of fraud. The charges stem from allegations that Holmes and Balwani, who hid that they were romantically involved for much of the time they headed Theranos, schemed to defraud the startup’s investors, its doctors, and its patients while knowing that its test results were inaccurate and unreliable.
The trial in the criminal case is set to begin in July 2020. Both Holmes and Balwani could face up to 20 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine plus restitution for each charge, the government has said.
The lawyers defending Holmes in the criminal case did not respond to Business Insider’s questions about whether they had been paid for their representation.