Murphys lawsuit also claimed that Soroka and Monroe, an employee of Charter Schools USA, defamed the principal, interfered with her business relations and conspired to defame her. Other counts in the suit include:
* That Soroka inflicted emotional distress
* That Charter Schools USA breached an oral agreement
* That Soroka kept her personal property, including Beanie Babies and family books that she had left in her office. He threatened arrest if she returned.
In 2007, Murphy first sued in federal court; the case was sent to state court.
In calculating the damages, the jury awarded separate amounts, ranging from $5,000 to $20.9 million, for damages related to different counts.
In their deliberations, jurors also considered if Soroka and Monroe were acting outside the scope of their employment. In some cases, such as conspiracy to defame, the jury decided Soroka acted outside his work, Monroe did not.
Kuehne said the jury decision sends a wake-up call to school boards and government officials to be careful about contracts and who runs schools.
Government bureaucrats without educational backgrounds have no business running schools and being supervisors to principals, he said.
In a legal filing, Burke said none of Sorokas comments were defamatory and noted that public officials who make statements within the scope of their duties are absolutely immune from defamation charges.
The truth is that the city manager has done nothing wrong concerning Dr. Murphy, and has only acted in the best interests of the city, said David Wolpin, an attorney with Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske who represents Aventura.
Ed Pozzuoli, general counsel for Charter Schools USA, said there was no contract between the company and Murphy. There are grounds potentially that the case would be simply be dismissed and the judge would grant a verdict in favor of Charter Schools USA, he said.
Kuehne said that because of the firing and fallout from it, Murphy, 60, has not been able to find work in the education field and has suffered poor health, even being hospitalized for three months.
Her school is a model school that they have used and continue to benefit from all the work done by Dr. Murphy not withstanding their effort to get rid of her like yesterdays dirty laundry, he said.