Some of the pre-trial details of the ex-Senate employee Michael Brodkorb's suit against the Minnesota Senate may be kept away from public eyes, according to a protective order issued this week by the magistrate judge in the case.
Brodkorb is suing over his 2011 firing, after he had an affair with then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. He claims that he was fired when female legislative staffers were allowed to continue working after they had similar affairs. The Senate counters that he was an 'at will' employee who could be let go at any time.
The case is headed for a trial in the summer of 2014.
Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan granted a protective order in matters regarding the case, which allows both parties to designate documents or other information produced during discovery "confidential."
Both Brodkorb and the Senate proposed such a protective order.
Dayle Nolan, attorney for the Minnesota Senate, said that protective orders not unusual and the form it took (see below) is not unique.
"It is the norm," she said.
For his part, Brodkorb said that he believes that "private aspects" of public officials and staff's lives should be kept from the public eye. But, he said, the protective order goes too far because could allow much more sweeping protections of information regarding the Senate's dealings with him.
"I think the public has a right to know," he said. "Because, ultimately, the taxpayers are paying the legal bills."
Read the order below: