County hires attorney for privacy lawsuit

Local News

Faribault County commissioners have hired a Twin Cities attorney to represent the county’s interest in a data privacy lawsuit.

Employment attorney Susan Hansen of Minneapolis will start earning her $170 an hour fee during a scheduling conference hearing set for Feb. 20 in Blue Earth.

“I will not be involved,” says County Attorney Troy Timmerman. “Once I am sworn in as judge, my role as an attorney is over for any case.”

It’s not the first time the county had turned to Hansen for her expertise. She was paid nearly $43,000 for her work when an arbitrator upheld the firing of a former deputy.

Timmerman and the county have been named as defendants in the case involving former Veterans Services Office head officer David Hanson, who resigned last August.

Hanson stepped down while an investigation of a complaint filed against the 24-year county employee was being conducted.

In court papers, Hanson’s attorney argues the U.S and Minnesota constitutions and the state’s Data Practices Act prevent any investigation findings from being made public.

“To prevent unnecessary and irreparable harm to himself and his career resulting from defendant’s contemplated disclosure of intensely personal and professional employment information,” wrote Jeffrey Schiek.

Investigation of the complaint was stopped when Hanson resigned and agreed to a separation agreement that paid him more than $36,000.

At the time, Timmerman said that release of any findings was not necessary because Hanson agreed to resign.

But, cited the state’s Data Practices law to have investigation results that cost taxpayers more than $6,300 be made public.

When Timmerman identified documents that could be released, Schiek filed court papers on Dec. 15 to prevent it.

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