Actually he has almost 47 million reasons. Thursday, a jury of six women and two men gave Luri a super-sized award. They deliberated about a day after a 7-day trial. They believed Republic Services Inc. illegally fired Luri because he refused to fire three senior workers at the trash-hauling company’s Cleveland office. Luri thought that would be age discrimination. So he was fired for refusing his superior’s orders. Luri let his lawyer do most of the talking. “We felt the jury would come back in our favor. But no one expected the amount,” Luri said. “It was very emotional. Jurors were crying. There were tears in my client’s eyes,” said Shannon Polk, Luri’s attorney.
Republic’s lawyers and officials probably felt like crying after the award was announced; about $3.5 million for Luri’s losses and more than $43 million in punitive damages.Juror Jamie Spafford told Channel 3 News, “Republic was out to get that man.” “As the work force gets older because of the population, it sends a strong message, issues pertaining to age discrimination will not be tolerated,” Polk said. A Republic spokesman could not be reached on the holiday. But elsewhere, the company has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to appeal the award as excessive. Republic’s in the midst of a merger to become the nation’s second biggest trash-hauler with 13,000 workers nationwide, including the three workers Luri never fired. Some think Judge Bridget McCafferty or a higher court may reduce the award. Polk claims the highest award in Ohio before this was a $31 million dollar verdict in a Youngstown area case.