Minneapolis settles lawsuits over driver database

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Lawsuits filed against local governments in Minnesota starting several years ago over misuse of the state’s driver and vehicle service database are slowly being closed.

The database contains addresses, driving records and photographs of Minnesota residents with a license. Some cases have been dismissed or narrowed by courts, while others have been settled.

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal said about a half-dozen cases remain active against the city, down from a peak of about 40.

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Minneapolis officials are expected to give an initial sign-off to a $155,000 settlement with Sheila Potocnik, who sued the city, alleging that a police sergeant used private information in the database to harass her.

In the Potocnik case, parties disputed the precise nature of the conversation between the police sergeant and Potocnik.

Potocnik’s attorney, Jon Strauss, said the facts show the police sergeant “was not conducting police business for Minneapolis when he accessed Ms. Potocnik’s driver’s license information.”

Strauss said the sergeant has since left the department.

The City Council also is expected to approve a settlement in another case for $25,000.