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City settles data breach case for $392K; combined settlements surpass $1M

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: November 2, 2012 - 6:42 PM

A former cop who sued a number of Minnesota cities for breaches of her drivers license data has now garnered more than $1 million in settlements, following Minneapolis' approval of a $392,500 payout Friday.

The City Council approved the settlement related to Anne Rasmusson's lawsuit following their meeting Friday morning. It comes on the heels of similar settlements from St. Paul and local cities, leaving only the state's public safety commissioners (current and former) as major defendants in the suit.

City attorney Susan Segal said they weighed the potential costs of moving forward with the suit, which would have included staff time, police time and the risk of paying attorney's fees. Federal statutes also outline minimum damages of about $2,500 per unauthorized lookup.

"We knew that there was quite a range of potential risk in this case," Segal said. "So we decided that the settlement was well within that range and was the wisest course to follow."

Rasmusson, a former Eden Prairie and St. Paul cop, sued more than 16 jurisdictions and recently named more than 140 officers she believes improperly viewed her information.

Segal said the city has had a "fairly low" number of payouts this year, noting that the city resolves more than two-thirds of cases in court and wins "virtually all of them." 

"We don't roll over easily on cases we've got. We're aggressive on them. [But] when it makes sense, though, we will settle cases," Segal said.

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