Michael LaGuardia poses in this 2012 file photo.
Long-time lawyer and life time Kingsport resident Michael LaGuardia passed away yesterday. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
LaGuardia was son of Thomas and Kathryn LaGuardia and the youngest of nine children.
The prominent lawyer graduated at 17 from Dobyns-Bennett High School. He then attended East Tennessee State University and graduated early with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration when he was 20 years old.
After graduating ETSU, he joined the corporate section of the supermarket business his parents owned, Giant Food Markets, Inc. After only three years, he became vice-president and secretary of the company.
Food Lion eventually bought out Giant Food Markets, Inc., and LaGuardia left the company. He wasn’t finished with business just yet. He started multiple computer companies.
He eventually decided to pursue law and attended the University of Tennessee in 1991, achieving his Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1994.
He went on to work for the state as Assistant District Attorney for the 1st Judicial District. He prosecuted cases for the state for more than six years, and decided to leave his state position and open a practice in Kingsport.
Stacy Street, Criminal Court judge for the 1st Judicial district, remembers how well LaGuardia practiced law.
"I met Michael when he was assigned as a prosecutor to Carter County," Street said. "He was a fine man and very zealous attorney, especially when prosecuting a case. He took his job as a prosecutor and later on as a defense attorney, very seriously."
LaGuardia served as the first attorney on the Kingsport Drug Court panel and his office served Sullivan, Washington, Hawkins and other surrounding counties. He focused on criminal defense, DUI defense, family law, small business law and bankruptcy.