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Notice of Claim Final 3132012

Notice of Claim Final 3132012

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Published by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger on Mar 15, 2012
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 March 13, 2012
VIA PERSONAL SERVICE
Ms. Dayle Nolan Minnesota Attorney General’s OfficeLarkin Hoffman 1400 Bremer Tower1500 Wells Fargo Plaza 445 Minnesota Street7900 Xerxes Avenue South St. Paul, MN 55101Minneapolis, MN 55431Senator Dave Senjem75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.Capitol Building, Room 121St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
RE: Notice of Claims for Michael Brodkorb (Confidential)
Dear Interested Parties:Please be advised that the undersigned represents Michael Brodkorb (hereinafter “Mr.Brodkorb”). Any and all further correspondence related to this matter should be addressed to myoffice.In December of 2008, Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem hired Mr. Brodkorb asCommunications Director for the Minnesota Senate Minority Caucus.In 2010, after Republicans took partisan control of the Minnesota Senate, Senator AmyKoch (hereinafter “Senator Koch”) was elected the Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate.Mr. Brodkorb transitioned to the role Communications Director for the Minnesota SenateMajority Caucus, filling the position created by the previous administration, which wascontrolled by the Senate Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.In September 2011, Deputy Majority Leader Geoff Michel, through Chief of Staff CullenSheehan, became aware that Mr. Brodkorb was involved in an intimate relationship with SenatorKoch. On the evening of December 14, 2011, Senator Michel along with Senator Chris Gerlach,Senator Claire Robling and Senator David Hahn met with Senator Koch at the Minneapolis Club.The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the above Senators’ knowledge of an intimaterelationship between Senator Koch and Mr. Brodkorb, and their request that she resignimmediately and Mr. Brodkorb be terminated from his position. Senator Hahn specifically statedat the meeting that Mr. Brodkorb would need to be terminated from his position, and he statedthat Cal Ludeman, Secretary of the Minnesota Senate, would be contacted after Senator Kochresigned so that Cal Ludeman could terminate Mr. Brodkorb.
 
RE: Notice of Claims for Michael Brodkorb (Confidential)Page Two
 The same group of Senators met the following morning on December 15, 2011, and hadfurther discussions including requesting Senator Koch step down as Majority Leader. Additionalconversations took place regarding the employment status of Mr. Brodkorb and it wasdetermined that Mr. Brodkorb needed to be terminated because of his intimate relationship withSenator Koch.On December 15, 2011, Senator Koch announced her resignation from her position asSenate Majority Leader and indicated she would not seek re-election.On December 16, 2011, Cal Ludeman met with Mr. Brodkorb at a public restaurant andinformed him that he was terminated from his position with the Senate, effective immediately.At this meeting Cal Ludeman stated: “This is off the record Michael, but those . . . there’s twoissues that related to the events of yesterday and the question has been posed as early as last nightabout your status...”The two issues were the resignation of Senator Koch as Senate Majority Leader theprevious day, and the fact that Mr. Brodkorb had an intimate relationship with Senator Koch.Prior to illegally terminating Mr. Brodkorb, Cal Ludeman and Republican Leaders were awarethat there was an intimate relationship between Mr. Brodkorb and Senator Koch.Cal Ludeman did not offer Mr. Brodkorb the opportunity to transfer to a different positionor accept a different position before illegally terminating Mr. Brodkorb from his position asDirector of Communications on December 16, 2011.Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, fromboth political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimaterelationships with male legislators. It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on hisgender. He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated inintimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, insupport of his claims of gender discrimination.In addition, it is anticipated that Senator Koch will testify that Mr. Brodkorb’semployment was terminated by the Republican Leadership because of the intimate relationshipbetween Senator Koch and Mr. Brodkorb, as will other legislators and legislative staffers.The termination of Michael Brodkorb violated federal, state, and local law. Underfederal, state, and local law, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee based on thatemployee’s gender. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et. esq.; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Minn. Stat. § 363A.01, et.esq.; St Paul Code of Ordinances Chapter 183, esq. al. Both males and females fall within“protected class” for purposes of prosecuting claims of intentional discrimination in employmentunder the law. Ridler v. Olivia Public School System No. 653, 432 N.W.2d 777, 781 (Minn. Ct.App. 1988); see also Freeman v. Ace Telephone Ass’n, 404 F.Supp.2d 1127, 2237 (Dist. Minn.2005).In order to establish a prima facie case of gender discrimination under Title VII or theMinnesota Human Rights Act, a plaintiff must demonstrate that he/she (1) is a member of aprotected group, (2) was qualified for his/her position, (3) suffered an adverse employmentaction, and (4) circumstances exist which create an inference of discrimination; the fourthelement can be met by demonstrating that similarly-situated employees of the opposite sex weretreated differently. Carter v. Dayton Rogers Mfg. Co., 543 F.Supp.2d 1026 (Dist. Minn. 2008).
 
 
RE: Notice of Claims for Michael Brodkorb (Confidential)Page Three
 The elements and analysis of gender discrimination under Title VII and the MinnesotaHuman Rights Act (MHRA) are the same. Carter v. Dayton Rogers Mfg. Co., 543 F.Supp.2d1026 (Dist. Minn. 2008).Mr. Brodkorb’s illegal termination meets all of the elements of a gender discriminationclaim.First, Mr. Brodkorb is a “protected class” member because he is a male.Second, based on the fact that Mr. Brodkorb never had any performance issues prior tohis termination on December 16, 2011, Mr. Brodkorb was qualified for his position. Mr.Brodkorb’s personnel file contained no record of any performance deficiencies.Third, the State of Minnesota took adverse action against Mr. Brodkorb by terminatinghim from his employment on December 16, 2011.Fourth, Mr. Brodkorb was terminated under circumstances giving rise to an inference of gender discrimination. On December 16, 2011, Cal Ludeman essentially admitted that the reasonfor Mr. Brodkorb’s termination was his intimate relationship with Senator Koch. As indicatedabove, female legislative staff employees engaged in intimate relationships with other legislators,and the female legislative staff employees were not terminated from their employment.Conversely, Mr. Brodkorb was terminated for having an intimate relationship with Senator Koch.The timing of the events stated above are extremely suspect, and the evidence shows that Mr.Brodkorb was, in fact, treated differently based of his gender.It is important to note that if Mr. Brodkorb were to prevail on his claims, Villaume &Schiek, P.A. would be requesting reimbursement for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs(including expert fees). 42 U.S.C. § 2000e; see also Minn. Stat. § 363A.33, subd. 7; Johns v.Harborage I, Ltd., 585 N.W.2d 853 (Minn. Ct. App. 1998).Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 3.732, subd. 1, definitions section, the Senate is an entity of theState of Minnesota.As a result of the illegal termination, my client is demanding damages in excess of $500,000.00.Lastly, Mr. Brodkorb reserves the right to include other tort claims, including but notlimited to, invasion of privacy claims against then-interim Senate Majority Leader Senator Geoff Michel, then-Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, then-Senate Majority Whip ChrisGerlach, former Chief of Staff of the Senate Majority Caucus Cullen Sheehan, and SenateCommittee Administrator Aaron Cocking.Prior to filing a Summons and Complaint in this case in District Court, to save onexpenses and to avoid unnecessary publicity, I suggest that we sit down for early mediation onthis matter in order to try and reach a global settlement. As you are most likely aware, we wouldbe required to mediate this matter via a Scheduling Order.I have had success with Allen Oliesky or Michael DeCoursey as mediators in the past;however, I am open to any suggestions regarding a mediator.If you do not want to mediate this matter within the next month or two please advise mein writing on or before March 23, 2012.

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