Report: Disgraced Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Stiffed Her Own Lawyers

Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, participates in the closing plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Greg Allen/Invision/AP

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has reportedly been jilted by her own lawyers after the disgraced healthcare entrepreneur and erstwhile billionaire failed to pay them for their work in an ongoing civil case.

Bloomberg reported that Holmes, who is still facing criminal fraud charges in California, is embroiled in a separate civil case in Arizona. The case involves Theranos customers who allege the company took samples of their blood when it knew the blood-testing technology was still in development.

Holmes has resorted to representing herself in the case, joining a conference call for a hearing last week without a lawyer, according to Bloomberg, which cited an attorney at the proceeding who declined to be identified due to “sensitive matters.”

Bloomberg reported that Holmes’ lawyers in the Arizona case quit in September, claiming that she hasn’t paid them. The development has stoked speculation into her financial situation since it’s unusual for a defendant of Holmes’ stature not to be represented by an attorney.

Holmes’ fortune was once valued at $4.5 billion by Forbes. The blood-testing company she founded was once a Wall Street darling based on the belief that it had revolutionized blood-testing technology. But Theranos went defunct after it was revealed that Holmes has misled investors about the company’s technology.

In a court filing, a law firm that used to represent Holmes in the Arizona case said that it withdrew from the case because Holmes hadn’t paid the firm for any of its work, according to Bloomberg.

“Ms. Holmes has not paid Cooley for any of its work as her counsel of record in this action for more than a year,” Dwyer wrote in the court filing. “Given Ms. Holmes’s current financial situation, Cooley has no expectation that Ms. Holmes will ever pay it for its services as her counsel.”

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