1 the top 100 verdictsof 2012 March 4, 2013 The cover is customized in collaboration and for the sole reprint purposes of Travelers.
2 the top 100 verdictsof 2012 Every year, The National Law Journal s VerdictSearch affiliate scours the nation s court records in search of the largest verdicts; it also consults with practitioners and with additional ALM Media LLC publications. The key here is what the jury awarded; this list does not account for judicial reductions, offsets or appeals. top 100 verdicts of 2012 Top verdict categories Dollar value of Top 100 verdicts by cause of action, in millions. Alcohol sold to minor led to fatal crash, family alleged Case Type: Negligent Service of Alcohol Dram Shop Motor Vehicle Broadside Motor Vehicle Multiple Vehicle Wrongful Death Survival Damages Case: Estate of Garcia v. Best For Less Food Mart Inc., Hillsborough Co., Fla., Ct., 09-CA-31023, 5/10/2012 Plaintiffs Attorney: William A. Gilbert, Dano & Gilbert, Moses Lake, Wash.; Rolando J. Santiago, RJS Law Group, Apollo Beach, Fla. Defense Attorney: Pro se Jury verdict: $716,472,101 Facts & Allegations On Feb. 28, 2008, plaintiff s decedent Samuel Garcia III, 32, a hydraulic diesel Intellectual Property 4,396 1 Wrongful death 150,434 2 Fraud 1,161 2 Intellectual property 5,324 3 Nursing homes 1,100 3 Toxic torts 1,901 4 Medical malpractice 1,031 4 Products liability 1,381 5 Dram shop Fraud Breach of contract Breach of contract Breach of fiduciary duty Medical malpractice Employment Motor vehicle Workplace safety Medicaid fraud Products liability Sexual assault 139 Source: VerdictSearch. Figures are rounded to the nearest $1 million. mechanic, was stopped in a Chevrolet Caprice intending to exit Circles Restaurant at 1212 Apollo Beach Blvd. in Apollo Beach. At the same time, David Holdsworth was traveling 95 mph in a posted 35-mph zone on Apollo Beach Boulevard when he rounded a slight curve in the roadway and lost control of his vehicle; he overcorrected his steering, causing the vehicle to yaw and go off the road, at which time he collided into the driver s side of Garcia s vehicle with his Chevrolet Camaro. Garcia died minutes later at the scene. Holdsworth, 17, was tested and found to have a blood-alcohol level of.136 an hour after the crash. According to Garcia s mother, during the day prior to the collision with her son, Holdsworth had consumed alcohol that was sold to him at Best For Less Food Mart at 6020 North U.S. Highway 41 in Apollo Beach. Garcia s mother, as personal representative of her son s estate, sued the convenience store, coowners Nasser Ayyoub and Wendy Ayyoub (who are husband and wife), and store employee Osama Ayyoub (Nasser Ayyoub s cousin) for claims of dram shop and vicarious liability. At the time of trial, the store was named Apollo Beach Food Mart as a result of ownership transfer to Nasser Ayyoub s father (who lives in Israel) in January Apollo Beach Food Mart was also named as a defendant. In December 2009, Holdsworth pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, and is serving a five-year sentence in the Florida state prison system. In a separate suit, the plaintiffs settled with Holdsworth in the underlying matter for an undisclosed amount in November At trial, the court granted summary judgment against the defendants, and the case was tried on the issue of damages. Injuries/Damages aorta, rupture; aorta, tear; death; emotional distress Garcia died as a result of a torn/ruptured aorta as a result of blunt-force trauma. It could not be determined at what time he died following the crash, but according to plaintiffs accident reconstructionist expert, an individual suffering a mortal wound such as Garcia s could live from 15 seconds to 20 minutes. Garcia s time of death could not be established because the crash pushed his vehicle through a high-voltage transfer station. As a result, emergency responders were unsure of the status of the exposed cables, and had to wait until it was determined that it was safe to approach Garcia s vehicle. By the time they reached Garcia, he was dead. The plaintiffs sought to recover $6,041 in funeral expenses and $384,000 in loss of net accumulations over Garcia s lifetime. According to Garcia s mother, Garcia played for various adult 2
3 hockey teams and volunteered in youth hockey. Garcia s mother and father each sought to recover damages for pain, emotional distress and mental anguish. According to plaintiff s mother, Garcia, who was engaged at the time of his death, was a warm and caring individual whose passions included hockey and cars, and that he was building a race car in his garage prior to his death. His mother sought to recover damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress on behalf of her son. When presenting their case for punitive damages, the plaintiffs maintained that the defendants willfully and wrongfully sold alcoholic products to minors, including Holdsworth, whose actions caused the death of Garcia. According to testimony of Holdsworth and supporting testimonies of other involved teenagers, Holdsworth purchased alcohol on two separate occasions on Feb. 28, 2012, from Best For Less Food Mart. Initially, Holdsworth and another teen left school at approximately 3 p.m., and Holdsworth bought a 12-pack of beer and two Tilt alcoholic beverages. The two teens went to a local park, met with another teen and drank the alcohol. When one of Holdsworth s friends had to go home, Holdsworth and the remaining friend returned to Best For Less Food Mart and purchased a second 12-pack of beer and two bottles of Old English malt liquor. The two teens went to a local beach and drank the alcohol. Holdsworth received a call from his mother at approximately 6:30 p.m. telling him he needed to get home for dinner. En route to his residence, Holdsworth crashed into Garcia s vehicle. According to plaintiffs accident reconstruction expert, Holdsworth s blood-alcohol level was about.151 at the time of the crash. According to the testimony of the teens involved, Best For Less Food Mart was known among their high school peers as a place where they could buy alcohol. According to trial testimony, the store sold alcohol to children as young as 14. Witnesses stated the store had a specific method when selling to children. The kids had to pay cash, and they were charged a premium of a few dollars more than the marked price for the liquor. The clerk would then package the alcohol out of sight of customers in the store and the teen would walk out with a box or paper bag containing the alcohol. Plaintiffs alcohol statistics expert, citing a 2009 University of Miami study, testified that among Florida high school seniors, more than 78 percent reported having tried alcohol at least once, 55.6 percent reported using alcohol more than once, and 31.2 percent reported past-30-days-use. In addition, among Florida sixth graders, 23 percent reported using alcohol more than once, and 9.9 percent reported past-30-days-use. About one out of six Florida students (16.4 percent) reported binge drinking within the past two weeks, 4 percent of whom were sixth graders. The expert said that traffic crashes involving minors and alcohol cost Florida residents in excess of $642 million annually, and that the total cost of underage drinking in Florida in 2009 was $3.073 billion. The defendants denied the allegations. (The defendants attorneys withdrew their representation during the course of litigation prior to trial. In June 2010, Lloyd s of London, the defendants insurer at the time of the accident, was able to withdraw through a declaratory relief action. As a result, the defendants were not insured at the time of trial.) Nassir Ayyoub testified that he and store personnel always ID customers who are buying alcohol and neither he, nor anyone employed by the store, had ever had any problems with the law in regard to selling alcohol to minors. Plaintiffs counsel impeached Nassir Ayyoub s testimony by producing two citations for selling alcohol to minors that were issued to Nassir Ayyoub in 2005 and an employee, Osama Ayyoub, seven months after the Feb. 28, 2008, crash. Result The jury apportioned liability among the five defendants: Best For Less Food Mart at 5 percent, Nasser Ayyoub at 35 percent, Wendy Ayyoub at 5 percent, Osama Ayyoub at 20 percent and Apollo Beach Food Mart at 35 percent. It determined that damages totaled $716,472,101. Workers severely burned in grain elevator explosion Case Type: Fire Premises Liability Dangerous Condition Workplace Workplace Safety Worker/Workplace Negligence Case: Jentz v. ConAgra Foods Inc., S.D. Ill., 3:10-cv MJR- PMF, 5/31/2012 Plaintiffs Attorney: Robert A. Clifford, Clifford Law Offices, Chicago; Marc A. Taxman, Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Chicago Defense Attorney: John W. Patton Jr., Patton & Ryan, Chicago; John G. Schultz, Franke, Schultz & Mullen, Kansas City, Mo. Jury verdict: $181,139,999 Facts & Allegations On April 27, 2010, plaintiffs John W. Jentz, 38, Robert Schmidt, 36, and Justin Becker, 31, were injured at a ConAgra Foods Inc. facility in Chester when a grain elevator exploded. The men were removing equipment from a concrete grain bin at a flour-milling site owned and operated by ConAgra Foods. The explosion occurred within and around a concrete grain bin referred to as Bin C15. That bin was used by ConAgra to store material known as pelletized wheat middlings. At the time of the explosion, Jentz and Schmidt were employed by A & J Bin Cleaning LLC. Becker was employed by West Side Salvage Inc. They and other employees of West Side Salvage were at the facility near Bin C15 attempting to remove the wheat middling pellets. Jentz, Schmidt and Becker sued ConAgra Foods on negligence theories. Becker sued A&J Bin Cleaning as well. Similarly, Jentz and Schmidt also sued West Side Salvage. The three separate actions were consolidated. Prior to the explosion on March 12, ConAgra became aware that there was an issue with Bin C15. The next day, an individual from West Side Salvage inspected the bin and recommended to ConAgra that it immediately hire West Side Salvage to address the situation. Despite being told that the bin was a ticking time bomb, ConAgra officials instead attempted to look for a cheaper contractor to handle the situation. For several weeks various ConAgra employees expressed their concerns to management that the bin was going to explode and that the fire department should be called, but those concerns were not heeded. Eventually ConAgra engaged West Side Salvage and a subcontractor that West Side Salvage hired, A & J Bin Cleaning. A & J arrived at the facility and began its work on April 20. Prior to West Side Salvage s arrival, ConAgra employees had allegedly been monitoring the bin; however, all data of temperature recordings were lost after the explosion. There were reports of smoke and high temperatures to ConAgra management, including a documented temperature reading recorded in a log book as high as 251 degrees. These employees requested that the fire department be called to the scene, but those requests were ignored. Several of these employees testified at trial, that, in their opinion, ConAgra was putting money over safety by not addressing the issue of the hot pellets in Bin C15 immediately and instead delaying by shopping around for a cheaper contractor. On the day of the explosion, the ConAgra employee responsible for overseeing the project was asked to call the fire department on at least two occasions because of the condition of the bin. Instead of calling 911, this employee called the local fire chief s private number to inquire when he could do a visual inspection of the bin. In addition, this same employee was calling the ConAgra corporate safety manager in Omaha, Neb., multiple times all day relaying concerns about the escalating danger in the bin. Ultimately, at about 4 p.m., he again called the fire department, and while on the phone with the fire chief the bin exploded, seriously injuring the plaintiffs. Moments before the explosion, the two most seriously injured plaintiffs, Jentz and Becker, were sent back into the bin to get equipment out of the way for the fire department. The defendants largely blamed each other for the occurrence of the explosion and filed thirdparty or cross-claims for contribution against each other in all three of the plaintiffs cases. ConAgra also claimed that West Side Salvage is liable for indemnity based on an indemnity provision claimed in the work order contract, the existence of which West Side Salvage denied. ConAgra Foods filed third-party and crossclaims against West Side Salvage and A & J Bin Cleaning to recover its costs to repair damage to its. A & J Bin Cleaning also brought a counterclaim against ConAgra to recover for damage to A & J s equipment and lost profits incurred as a result of not being able to complete its contract. Each defendant denied that it is liable to the plaintiffs directly and also argued that the plaintiffs own negligence in how the cleanup operation was undertaken contributed to the accident. 3
4 The defendants further denied that they were liable to each other with regard to the defendants respective claims for contribution, property damage and/or lost profits. Furthermore, West Side Salvage and A & J disputed the nature and extent of the damages claimed by ConAgra on the grounds that cost of repair is not the proper measure of ConAgra s alleged property damage. Justin and Amber Becker settled with A&J Bin Cleaning prior to trial. The case proceeded to trial with the Becker claims against ConAgra and the Jentz and Schmidt claims against ConAgra and West Side. Injuries/Damages burns; burns, first degree; burns, fourth degree; burns, second degree; burns, third degree; debridement; eye; face; hand; head; loss of consortium; neck; posttraumatic stress disorder; respiratory; skin graft All three plaintiffs suffered severe burns resulting in scars and disfigurement. Jentz suffered second, third and fourth degree burns to approximately 75 percent of his body. He was hospitalized in St. Louis area hospitals (first Barnes Jewish and then St. John s Mercy) from April 27 to June 22. He was subsequently transferred to Regions Hospital in Minneapolis. He had multiple grafting, excision and debridement procedures during his hospitalization in St. Louis. He can only sweat on two spots on his body which limits his ability to be outside. He needs to be in a controlled environment as a result. This has limited his ability to work and engage in activities outside like fishing and snowmobiling. Jentz incurred over $1.8 million dollars in medical bills. He has not yet reached maximum medical improvement and it is unlikely that he will ever work again. Schmidt sustained second degree burns to his hands and neck. He incurred $67, in medical bills and was off work for three months. He was hospitalized at St. Johns from April 27 to April 30. He had a debridement procedure performed on his hands while at St. Johns. He was off work for three months. His hands have hypersensitivity to the cold. Additionally, he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (he was in a one-man, open air elevator about half-way down the 120 foot shaft when the explosion occurred, saw the fireball coming at him and felt himself on fire). He has nightmares and panic attacks during thunderstorms. Becker was burned over 12 percent of his body. The areas most severely affected were his entire face and head and both hands. He required complete grafting on both hands with skin harvested from his thighs. He also required grafting on his forearms and biceps. Justin suffered an inhalation injury when he inhaled the super heated fire, smoke and air at the time of the explosion. He suffered burns to his lips, tongue, throat, trachea and most significantly his lungs. Justin required 80 days of ventilator support for acute respiratory distress syndrome and respiratory failure. His lungs were permanently damaged and his ability to transfer oxygen from his lungs into his blood stream has been permanently diminished. Becker was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Mercy Hospital in St. Louis until July 26. He suffered multi-systemic compromise and organ damage during his recovery, including kidney failure that necessitated dialysis; liver failure, neurologic storms and a seizure. His recovery was complicated by an MRSA infection, urinary tract infection, and blood infection. He required placement of a G-Tube for feeding until Aug. 15, a tracheostomy for ventilator support, severe deconditioning, and critical illness polyneuropathy and myopathy (which is severe and permanent nerve and muscle damage from the critical illness and/or toxins from the incident). Becker was then transferred by ambulance on July 26 to St. Luke s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for rehabilitation. Justin remained there until Aug. 27. He continues with his outpatient care, treatment and testing to this day. Becker suffered burns to both eyelids and both eyes resulting in severe ectropion, which is the retraction (or melting in) of his eyelids. He also sustained severe corneal scarring on both eyes. Justin underwent two surgeries to rebuild his eyelids and then a cornea transplant on his left eye. He now wears thick glasses to correct his vision and he did not wear glasses prior to the trauma. He may need a cornea transplant on the right and a replacement of the corneas again on both the left and right. He still has corneal scarring and severe astigmatism in both eyes. Becker has permanent medical restrictions. He is only permitted to work two hours per day in a sedentary position that is climate controlled and does not involve lifting over 20 pounds or dexterity. His hand strength and coordination are compromised from the grafting and the polyneuropathy and myopathy. His endurance is also severely compromised. He suffers from a drop foot and his skin integrity is compromised and scarred on his face, head and hands. Becker does not look anything like he did before the explosion. He is also at risk for depression and his affect is blunted. The doctors caring for him are concerned about the need for future psychological or psychiatric support. Becker s wife joined in the action asserting loss of consortium. Result The jury rendered a plaintiff s verdict, but also found 1 percent comparative negligence as to Jentz and 5 percent comparative negligence as to Becker. The total damage award, was $181,139,999,33. The Becker reached a $900,000 settlement with A&J prior to trial. Harassment, stress led to colon necrosis, principal claimed Case Type: Wrongful Termination Employment Sexual Harassment Employment Workplace Harassment Intentional Torts Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress Business Law Defamation Business Law Intentional Interference With a Contract School Government Municipalities Government State And Local Government Case: Murphy v. City of Aventura, Miami-Dade Co., Fla., Cir. Ct., 11th, CA (24) 11/2/2012 Plaintiffs Attorney: Richard J. Burton, The Burton Firm, Miami; Benedict P. Kuehne, Law Office of Benedict P. Kuehne, P.A., Miami Defense Attorney: Michael T. Burke, Johnson, Anselmo, Murdoch, Burke, Piper & Hochman, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; John H. Richards, Boyd Richards Parker Colonnelli, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Jury verdict: $155,737,000 Facts & Allegations Between April 1, 2003, and early December 2006, plaintiff Katherine Murphy, in her early 50s, was principal of the Aventura City of Excellence School. Murphy was the inaugural principal of the elementary/middle school (known as ACES), a charter school for the city that was managed by Charter Schools USA, the education company with which Murphy had been employed in an executive-level position for roughly three years before becoming principal. ACES teachers and administrative staff were Charter Schools USA employees, but Murphy was a city employee while she was principal, and would regularly interact with City Manager Eric Soroka regarding school business, she claimed. According to Murphy, Soroka was intent on wielding control over the school s operations. She claimed that during her tenure as principal, Soroka engaged in an escalating pattern of humiliation and intimidation, which included berating Murphy, often in vulgar terms, for perceived contacts between Murphy and various members of the city s government. The contentious situation culminated with Murphy s abrupt termination in the middle of the school year, she claimed. Within several years of her firing, Murphy developed an intestinal blockage that was blamed on stress stemming from the loss of her job and resulting professional difficulties. In late 2010, an infection secondary to her intestinal condition caused a three-month coma. Murphy filed suit in federal court against the city; the school; Charter Schools USA and related entities; Soroka and his city-employee wife; and Nicole Munroe, an ACES administrator believed to have provided Soroka with information about Murphy (that Murphy claimed was false) that was cited as justification for Murphy s dismissal. Murphy s complaint alleged sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and also included various statelaw claims. In May 2009, Judge Jose E. Martinez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted a defense motion for summary judgment as to Murphy s federal-law claims, and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed in June Murphy subsequently re-filed her state-law claims in state court in Miami-Dade County. This complaint included causes of action for defamation, intentional interference with business relations, and conspiracy as to Soroka and Munroe; for intentional infliction of emotional distress as to Soroka individually; and for breach of contract as to Charter Schools USA. 4
5 Murphy contended that, almost immediately after becoming principal of ACES, it became apparent to her that Soroka planned to micromanage the operations of Aventura s new educational institution. Aventura is served by Miami-Dade s school system, and ACES was, at the time of its founding, the only public school within city limits. While non-residents were eligible to apply to ACES, residency in Aventura was a factor that would weigh in favor of an applicant s being granted admission. According to Murphy, Soroka seemed eager to take credit for the school s growing list of achievements. Murphy became a city employee upon being named principal of ACES; she also remained a paid consultant to Charter Schools USA, thus allowing her to maintain her prior income level. Murphy claimed that, as a city employee, she could not avoid interacting with Soroka, but felt confident that her extensive experience in school administration would allow her to successfully negotiate any powerstruggle between the two. Murphy claimed that during her first year as ACES principal, Soroka heard a rumor that Murphy had been dining at an Aventura restaurant with several city commissioners, and angrily instructed Murphy that she was never to speak with any city commissioners without his having consented and/ or being present. Soroka repeatedly used curse words when addressing her about school-related matters, Murphy contended, and also began to make comments about her personal life, sometimes employing vulgar and seemingly misogynistic terms when doing so. For example, according to Murphy, Soroka had on one occasion concluded that Murphy had dined with a recently divorced female city commissioner; Soroka later called Murphy and allegedly told Murphy that the two women had looked like prostitutes during their evening out. Meanwhile, strong ratings and rankings for ACES meant that more and more parents from in and around Aventura were seeking to enroll their children. At first, the school relied on a lottery system, but ultimately began to maintain a waitlist. According to Murphy, Soroka wanted to have as many Aventura residents attend ACES as possible, and had members of the city s staff including his wife, Teresa, the city clerk obtain supposedly confidential school records regarding certain student applicants, so that members of Aventura s police department could investigate whether their parents were bona fide Aventura residents. Murphy claimed that she resisted Soroka s efforts to improperly access confidential records and coordinate background checks on children and their families. In mid-october 2006, an opening became available in one of ACES fifth-grade classes. One of the applicants for the spot was an Aventura boy who had previously attended ACES and had recently returned to Florida after temporarily relocating to New Jersey with his family. According to Murphy, Munroe, the registrar for ACES, enrolled the boy pursuant to the responsibilities of Munroe s position. However, Murphy claimed, Munroe (a Charter Schools USA employee whose children were enrolled at ACES) was compelled by Soroka to provide a statement to the effect that Murphy had taken money from the boy s parents and then instructed Munroe to move the boy ahead on the waitlist. On Dec. 1, 2006, Murphy claimed, Soroka summarily terminated her. That morning, several Aventura police officers allegedly came to Murphy s residence at a gated community in Palm Beach County and presented her with documents concerning her resignation. Murphy claimed that she was told to complete the documents and send them to Soroka, and not to return to Aventura or to ACES. That afternoon, Aventura police again visited Murphy s home regarding the conclusion of her employment at ACES, Murphy claimed. At roughly the same time as her conflict with Soroka came to a head, according to Murphy, her consulting contract with Charter Schools USA was also terminated. In support of Murphy s claim of defamation, multiple ACES parents testified that Soroka had related that Murphy was fired for lying about the admission of the fifth-grader, for taking bribe money from parents, and for misusing school money for her personal benefit. Soroka apparently had made similar allegations when interviewed by members of Florida s unemployment compensation program after Murphy sought benefits. Also, Munroe made statements about Murphy s allegedly improper handling of the fifth grader s admission during an interview with state unemployment benefits officers, Murphy claimed. (At trial, counsel for Murphy called attention to the fact that Munroe s children attend ACES, and that their continued enrollment at the school is effectively dependent on Munroe s remaining employed there.) With regard to the harassment allegations against Soroka, counsel for Murphy called a former Charter Schools USA administrator who testified that Soroka had, during an early meeting between Aventura officials and the company, repeatedly used curse words and displayed an angry and demeaning attitude during what was supposed to be a business meeting. Witnesses involved in operations at ACES stated that Soroka had often used inappropriate language in addressing Murphy during her tenure as principal, and that Soroka s barrages had sometimes left Murphy reduced to tears. Counsel for Murphy argued that Soroka s directing uniformed, on-duty Aventura police officers to travel outside of their jurisdiction to confront Murphy about the conclusion of her employment at ACES constituted further evidence of his improper desire to inflict emotional distress. The officers had stated that they were invited into Murphy s gated community by an on-duty security guard; Murphy s attorneys presented evidence that Murphy s gated community had never employed a security guard, and that access to the property was controlled by a keypad on which residents could type in a passcode. Defense counsel for the city argued that Soroka had never used vulgar language in his dealings with Murphy, and that Murphy had been properly terminated for violating numerous rules regarding management of the school. Defense counsel for Charter Schools USA contended that Murphy s consulting contract had been terminated in the summer of 2006 as part of a broader realigning of paid consultancies prior to the school year, and that this decision had not been prompted by, or related to, the souring relationship between Murphy and Soroka. Counsel further argued that Munroe had been telling the truth about Murphy s allegedly improper handling of the fifth-grader s October 2006 admission, and that Munroe had taken the proper course of action after learning of Murphy s conduct. Injuries/Damages colon; colostomy; depression; emotional distress; gastrointestinal complications; heart; infection; mental/psychological; necrosis; post-traumatic stress disorder; pulmonary/respiratory The stomach condition from which Murphy began to suffer following her termination as ACES principal ultimately was diagnosed as necrosis of the colon. In addition to the late-2010/early-2011 three-month-long coma caused by the secondary infection originating in her colon, Murphy had to have a portion of her colon removed, and now uses a colostomy bag. Treating physicians have informed her that she will have to have her colon repaired again at some time in the future. A non-treating psychologist testified that Soroka s harassment of Murphy caused depression and post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms, and that her gastrointestinal problems were caused by her psychological stress. A treating psychiatrist testified that Murphy s physical and mental health likely will continue to deteriorate over the course of her life. Murphy claimed that she has been unable to find work commensurate with her training and experience. A former senior vice president for Charter Schools USA testified about the impact that allegations of dishonesty would have on a person within the relatively small field of educational leadership. He also spoke of the high esteem in which Murphy was held by her peers prior to assuming leadership of ACES, and of his futile attempts to assist her in gaining meaningful employment as an educator following her dismissal by Aventura in late An expert economist estimated Murphy s loss of income and benefits as a result of her termination at roughly $3.6 million. With respect to non-economic damages, counsel for Murphy asked the jurors to consider the fact that Murphy now faces a life devoid of good health and of the work to which she had been dedicated. Counsel asked that the jurors award Murphy compensatory damages of at least $50 million, and also requested that punitive damages be awarded. Defense counsel for Charter Schools USA called a psychiatry expert, who reasoned that a mental-health test of Murphy revealed no adverse psychological symptoms, and that neither 5