A federal magistrate is pushing Michael Brodkorb’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the Minnesota Senate closer to trial.

Both sides must submit a list of names they want to depose by May 2, federal Magistrate Arthur Boylan has ordered.

Boylan also ordered both sides into last-ditch, confidential settlement talks before April 11. Similar settlement talks have not been successful in the past. Brodkorb is seeking an undisclosed amount of money.

The often blustery and confrontational Brodkorb had quickly risen to the role of Republican Senate spokesman when the GOP controlled the Legislature. In December 2011, then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, resigned her leadership post after admitting she and Brodkorb were having an affair. The next day, under orders of the new Senate leadership, Brodkorb was fired.

Brodkorb alleges in the lawsuit that he was treated differently than female staffers who previously had affairs with legislators. He argues that females in similar positions were quietly shifted to other Capitol jobs.

The Senate has argued that Brodkorb was an at-will employee who could be fired at any time.

Brodkorb filed the lawsuit when Republicans controlled the Senate. The new Democrats in charge have signaled no new willingness to change course and offer a settlement.

The court has dismissed several of Brodkorb’s claims, including libel. But the court has allowed the wrongful termination case to proceed.

In order to prove his case, Brodkorb's attorneys could end up deposing a list of current and former legislators and staffers, forcing them to give testimony about alleged affairs that had once been private.

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