Elizabeth Holmes’ lawyers in Theranos civil case want out because she can’t pay them

Health, Fitness & Food

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos.

David Orrell | CNBC

Elizabeth Holmes, who once presided over blood-testing startup Theranos which was valued at $9 billion, can’t pay her legal bills in a class-action civil suit, according to her lawyers in the case at the law firm Cooley LLP.

Cooley is handling a class-action civil suit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Attorneys Stephen Neal, John Dwyer and Jeffrey Lombard filed a motion on September 30 stating, “Ms. Holmes has not paid Cooley for any of its work as her counsel of record in this action for more than a year.” They asked the judge for permission to withdraw from the case.

Plaintiffs in the class-action civil case accuse Holmes, Theranos and Walgreens, which carried Theranos blood-testing services in Arizona and Palo Alto, of fraud and medical battery.

Holmes has denied the allegations.

The motion, which is sealed but has been seen by CNBC, also states, “Further, given Ms. Holmes’s current financial situation, Cooley has no expectation that Ms. Holmes will ever pay it for its services as her counsel. Cooley therefore respectfully requests permission to withdraw as Counsel for Ms. Holmes.”

Lombard said in an email to CNBC: “We don’t’ have any further comment.”

The motion states Holmes has been informed of the status of the case.

Holmes’ criminal defense attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Holmes was in court this week for a hearing related to her criminal trial with co-defendant Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. In that case, Holmes and Balwani are charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Holmes is scheduled to appear in court on November 4.

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