Luke Largess Prevails in Federal Court with $1.1M Verdict
Luke Largess successfully represented Jeff Leardini, a former middle school teacher, in a lawsuit against the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Leardini had previously been charged with improperly touching students in 2006 and was terminated by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Noell Tin represented Leardini on criminal charges and secured acquittals on all charges in Mecklenburg County Superior Court in June 2007.
In a subsequent civil lawsuit, Leardini alleged that the school system violated his right to due process when they terminated him. On February 24, 2012, a Federal District Court jury ruled in Leardini’s favor and awarded him over $1.1 million. Leardini said he never thought about giving up and putting the episode behind him, telling the Charlotte Observer: “My good name is worth it, even if it takes five years to get there.” Largess observed that the jury’s verdict should help “the school system to appreciate the personal pressure that people are under when they’re accused,” stressing that teachers “should be supported and not just treated as the enemy.”
The school system appealed the jury’s verdict and the case was later settled for $680,000.