- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Judge: Ex-Minn. golf coach proved discrimination

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Hennepin County judge has found that a former University of Minnesota women’s golf coach was discriminated against because she’s a lesbian.

Judge Thomas Sipkins ruled Tuesday that former coach Kathryn Brenny is entitled to double her back pay and compensation for mental anguish - in all, $359,588, plus attorneys’ fees.

Sipkins said Brenny’s treatment by the school and by John Harris, who was then head of the university’s golf program, was discriminatory and broke the law.

Brenny originally named Harris as a defendant, along with the university, but in May 2012, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed the claim against him.

Harris did not respond to an email request from the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1p9c0ZL) for comment.


Tangled Minn. tax bill exposes Democratic rift

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton kicked up a storm Tuesday in his return to the Minnesota Capitol, chastising fellow Democrats for not moving quicker on a tax-relief measure and suggesting that a controversial Senate office building proposal had improperly gotten in the way.

Forcefully reasserting himself after a five-week recovery from hip surgery, Dayton demanded that the Legislature reach a deal on tax cuts by week’s end.

“It’s just inexcusable, and I’m very, very disappointed that we’re at this impasse at this stage. And it has got to stop,” Dayton said, expressing his belief that Senate Democrats weren’t passing the tax bill because House Democrats have withheld backing for a new office building for senators.

The governor may get his way.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook said that a vote on the tax measure would probably happen Thursday. Bakk denied using the office building as leverage, though he said Dayton and the House can’t avoid that issue because ongoing Capitol renovations will leave senators without space by next year.


Judge: Some claims in Toyota crash may proceed

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal judge is allowing a Minnesota man to proceed with some of his claims stemming from the fatal crash of a Toyota in 2006.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery ruled Tuesday that Koua Fong Lee can proceed with his claim against Toyota of negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Lee was incarcerated for more than two years after his 1996 Camry plowed into the back of an Oldsmobile in St. Paul. He was released in 2010 after a wave of publicity about Toyota’s problems with sudden acceleration.

Montgomery dismissed claims by survivors of a father and son killed in the accident, ruling there’s no proof Toyota fraudulently concealed a defect.

Toyota says it’s pleased that any notion of misconduct was eliminated, and the automaker looks forward to defending itself at trial.


Minn. Senate plans tax relief vote on Thursday

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Leaders of the Minnesota Senate say they hope to pass a $434 million tax relief measure on Thursday, though it’s not clear if differences with a House version will delay its path to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Tuesday saw a flurry of accusations among the all-Democratic leadership about why the bill has yet to pass and whether a controversial legislative office building project had gotten in the way. Dayton lashed out at lawmakers over the pacing, which is critical given that some tax cuts might be available immediately.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says his members had long been moving toward a Thursday vote.

The Senate’s version is smaller than a House tax-cut package. And it also sets aside $150 million toward state budget reserves, which the House hasn’t done.

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