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Fired Aventura Principal Sues, Wins $155M, Has It Taken Away

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AVENTURA (CBSMiami) – A former Aventura principal who was awarded $155 million in lawsuit is heading back to court because a judge threw out her judgment.

“It’s brought me to my lowest point in many, many ways,” said Dr.Katherine Murphy in an exclusive interview with CBS4 News.

Murphy was principal of the Aventura CIty of Excellence Charter School until 2006. That’s when Murphy was fired over a claim, she says, that she allowed a 5th grade student into the school by skipping the wait list. Murphy denies the allegation and says a jury believed her.

“They did believe me. The jury heard my witnesses, they believed my story,” she said.

She sued the charter school, its parent company, and Aventura City Manager Eric Soroka, who Murphy says, ruined her reputation.

“The defamation has followed me to every job I’ve applied for,” she said.

On Friday, after four weeks at trial, a jury came back with the verdict, which said that the city manager had defamed her. She was awarded $155 million.

“I’ve never floated so high in my life with their verdict, with their belief in me, with those six people sitting there believing in me,” she said.

But just days later, a judge struck down the jury’s decision, and eliminated Murphy’s 155 million dollar judgment.

Aventura’s city attorney told us this in a statement: “The judge threw out the judgment because judge found that the principal’s claims were not supported by the evidence given to the court. The city manager did nothing wrong and acted solely on the interest of the city.”

“My only goal was to have the city manager turn around and stand on the steps of the school that their principal did nothing wrong,” said Murphy.

Murphy and her attorneys plan to appeal the judge’s decision.

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