Twin Cities Civil Rights Attorneys

–For Immediate Release–

MAYOR HODGES TO MARRY SOUTH DAKOTA COUPLE WHO WILL CHALLENGE STATE’S SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN

Minneapolis, April 24, 2014 – This Saturday, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will welcome visitors Nancy Robrahn and Jennie Rosenkranz to The City of Lakes.  The Mayor will then marry the South Dakota couple, setting the stage for them to return home and challenge a 2006 constitutional same-sex marriage ban.

The Rapid City couple has been together for 27 years.  They have four children and six grandchildren.  “We already consider ourselves married; this is a rededication of that marriage,” said Robrahn, 68.

“We are approaching the time when end of life decisions and plans need to be made.  There are many federal protections that will become available to us through this Minnesota marriage. We hope to see the day when couples like us don’t have to travel out of South Dakota to marry,” said Robrahn.

Upon returning home, the pair will join two other South Dakota couples and, together, will file a federal class action civil rights lawsuit against South Dakota government officials.  The lawsuit, which will soon be filed in United States District Court, will seek to overturn South Dakota’s same-sex marriage ban and to require the state to recognize marriages performed out of state.

Attorney Joshua Newville of Minneapolis-based Madia Law LLC represents all three couples. “These couples show that love and commitment exist in South Dakota just as they exist in Minnesota and beyond.  South Dakota has failed to treat all of its citizens with the dignity and respect deserved by all people.  With the filing of this lawsuit, we will lead South Dakota down a better path,” said Newville.

At 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, April 26, 2014, Mayor Hodges will marry the couple in a private ceremony at the Community of Christ Church in North Minneapolis.  The ceremony will be followed by a press conference at 1:30 P.M., where the Mayor will introduce the couple as, “Mrs. and Mrs. Rosenbrahn.”

Press: Pioneer Press

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On Friday, March 21, 2014, Ashwin Madia was invited to speak to students at St. Louis Park High School regarding the rule of law.  Madia is a former Marine JAG who served in Iraq and helped establish the rule of law in the war-torn country.  A full video of the speech is available below:

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Last week, in a move that will lead to millions more employees being eligible for overtime wage rates for hours worked over 40, President Obama signed an executive order modifying regulations contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The FLSA requires that employees who are not classified as “exempt” must be paid overtime wage rates for all hours worked over 40 per week.  There are various exemptions, however, including exemptions for some executive, administrative, and professional employees.  The President’s order, according to his statement, is intended to simplify and narrow the definition of who can properly be classified as exempt.  Specifically, the President discussed the minimum salary requirement level and the requirements surrounding job duties.  The President spoke of modernizing and streamlining the regulations in light of the “changing nature of the workplace.” The President also called on Congress to update the minimum wage provisions of the FLSA. 

At the direction of President Obama, the Department of Labor will begin the arduous process of promulgating the rule changes, publishing them, and reviewing public commentary. Unfortunately, until that process is complete, the current regulations remain in effect.  

The full video of the President’s remarks, embedded, below:

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On Monday, Madia Law filed suit in United States District Court on behalf of Plaintiff Tammy Liddle against Bloomington Police Officer Jeff Thibert.  Ms. Liddle’s federal lawsuit (14-CV-431-JNE/JSM) alleges unreasonable search and seizure, unlawful arrest, and excessive force.  Ms. Liddle is also in possession of squad cam video of the subject incident.

Bloomington City Hall Bloomington City Hall

 

Below is a copy of the Complaint, with some names redacted: [click to continue…]

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On January 15, 2014, Ashwin Madia spoke on Leading Outside Your Comfort Zone as part of the University of Minnesota Law School‘s Corporate Institute Leadership Foundations Program.  Below is a video and transcript of his talk:

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The ability to safely, calmly and professionally interact with the public without rage and violence is an intrinsic and basic part of law enforcement.  According to a lawsuit filed by Madia Law on behalf of Walter Tournat, an 85-year-old disabled Navy veteran who had called police to his own home, on November 16, 2013, Baxter Police Officer Trent Westerlund showed a complete lack of these essential skills and a disregard for laws of the United States.

Defendant Trent Westerlund

Mr. Tournat’s allegations indicate that Westerlund acted with an outrageous disregard for Tournat’s rights and dignity when, in an abhorrent fit of rage, Westerlund publicly assaulted Mr. Tournat, throwing him onto his back and onto pavement, where Mr. Tournat hit his head and suffered injury.  The following are the background allegations from the Complaint.   [click to continue…]

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Madia Law settled an age discrimination case on behalf of “Joan” after defeating her former employer’s motion for summary judgment.

The terms are confidential pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement.

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Historically, owners and managers of strip clubs have adhered to a business model that classifies exotic dancers (often called “strippers”) as independent contractors rather than employees.  By classifying dancers as independent contractors, employers are able to reap the financial benefits of having dancers work for them (and, as a result, turning a profit) while simultaneously avoiding having to pay the dancers for their work, paying into social security, and potentially paying unemployment insurance and workers compensation.  This business model, however, may be quickly eroding.

Minnesota and Wisconsin Employment Law Attorneys

In November, 2012, a federal court approved a roughly $13 million settlement in a nationwide class-action lawsuit against 16 strip clubs which were classifying their dancers as independent contractors.  Stephanie Hoops, Spearmint Rhino Exotic Dancers Settle Suit For Nearly $13 Million, The Huffington Post (November 11, 2012 1:32 PM) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/spearmint-rhino-exotic-dancers-settle-suit_n_2128458.html.  Moreover, recent court decisions have nearly unanimously ruled that exotic dancers are employees, not independent contractors.  See Hart v. Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc., 2013 WL 4822199 (2013); Clincy v. Galardi South Enterprises, Inc., 808 F.Supp.2d 1326 (2011); Thompson v. Linda And A, Inc. 779 F.Supp.2d 139 (2011).  That notwithstanding, there are still many strip clubs which continue to classify their dancers as independent contractors. [click to continue…]

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The myriad surveys, articles, and headlines are clear: whether you are aware of it or not, your employers—both prospective and current—are monitoring (and, in some instances, controlling) your social media presence. [1] [2] [3].  As long as management-side employment law attorneys continue to tout a parade of horrible to their clients regarding social media, this trend will continue.

There are and have been countless warnings in the form of online articles, workplace policies, and various other friendly reminders: think twice before using social media to broadcast your stream of consciousness via poorly-thought status updates and 140-character snark-ridden commentary.  Yet, employees continue to tank their present or prospective employment by making atrociously bad decisions relating to social media. [4] [5].

Minnesota and Wisconsin Employment Law Attorneys

It is imperative that employees begin to grapple with the reality of social media: absolutely nothing is as private as you think. [click to continue…]

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The Stolen Lives Project determined that during the entire decade of the 1990′s, over 2000 deaths occurred at the hands of police officers.  Seven years ago, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Justice released a similar report that focused only on the years 2003 thru 2005.  That report indicated that over 2000 people died while being arrested by police officers during those three years alone, and that during each of those three years, the rate of such deaths increased by 13%.  There is also myriad evidence to indicate that police officer deaths at the hands of suspects is increasing at an alarming rate; for example, the FBI determined that from 2007 to 2008, the rate of officer deaths at the hands of suspects jumped 25%.

MInneapolis Civil Rights Attorneys

Although evidence indicates that lethal interactions between police and suspects are increasing, and although it is increasingly common for federal prosecutors to criminally target officers, it is still, overall, exceptionally rare for criminal charges to be filed against police.  Significant spikes in civil liability and lawsuits (i.e., New York, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Minneapolis) suggest that a closer look at police officers by prosecutors might be warranted. [click to continue…]

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November 2013: Madia Law Files Federal Qui Tam Action

November 21, 2013

On behalf of the United States and multiple State governments, Madia Law has filed a federal qui tam action in federal District Court.  The filing alleges fraud against the government by multiple corporate Defendants.  Pending potential intervention by the United States, the suit remains under seal for at least 60 days. In a qui tam action, […]

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October 16, 2013: Madia Law Files Overtime Class Action Against Lessors, Inc.

October 17, 2013

Lessors, Inc. is a national trucking company based in Eagan, Minnesota.  On October 16, 2013, on behalf of current and former Lessors employees, Madia Law filed a class and collective action wage and hour lawsuit against Lessors in United States District Court. The plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and other employees, allege that Lessors has […]

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Shutdown Wreaks Havoc on Federal Employment Law Enforcement

October 11, 2013

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is in the business of keeping people from being treated unfairly in the workplace.  Somewhat ironically, the vast majority of the EEOC’s employees are at home today, having been forced out of work since the federal government shut down 11 days ago.  Their lack of employment during the shutdown is […]

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Employment Law & “The Woman Question”

October 2, 2013

I’ll admit it.  When I first learned about “The Woman Question“ during my first year of a law school, I wasn’t impressed.  I immediately equated this feminist approach to the world (and particularly, to the law) with what I felt was as an overly radicalized modern feminism. This week, I was reminded of The Woman Question. […]

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Madia Law Hiring for Paralegal/Client Liaison

September 24, 2013

Madia Law is currently accepting applications for a part-time Paralegal/Client Liaison. This is a 25 hour position that, for the right candidate, will grow into full-time, 40 hours. Madia Law is a small civil litigation firm focusing on employment law, business litigation, and civil rights matters.  We are located in downtown Minneapolis near Target Field in […]

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September 2013: Madia Law Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Minneapolis Police

September 23, 2013

One and a half years ago, DelShawn Crawford Sr. was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers in his girlfriend’s home.  On behalf of Crawford’s estate, Madia Law has filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against two Minneapolis police officers, Laura Turner and Chad Meyer.  What follows is a summary of the allegations […]

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September 2013: Madia Law Wins $298,000.00 Jury Verdict On Behalf of Small Business

September 8, 2013

Madia Law obtained a successful jury trial verdict on behalf of a Minneapolis-based small business last week.  On Tuesday, a Hennepin County jury returned its verdict in Stallions, LLC d/b/a/ Club New York vs. St. Croix Plumbing and Drain Cleaning, LLC f/k/a St. Croix Mechanical, LLC and Steinkraus Plumbing, Inc.  (Case No. 27-CV-11-16645). The jury held that […]

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July 2013: Court Certifies Class of Regency Admissions Representatives Seeking Unpaid Overtime

July 23, 2013

Madia Law filed a class and collective action lawsuit in February against Regency Beauty Institute (a national for-profit cosmetology school) on behalf of current and former employees in Regency’s Admissions Department seeking unpaid overtime wages.  On July 15, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank granted Plaintiffs’ Motion for Conditional Class Certification. The five named plaintiffs in […]

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Madia Law Hiring for Legal Assistant

July 22, 2013

Madia Law is currently accepting applications for the position of Legal Assistant. This position in a small civil litigation firm focusing on employment law, business litigation, and civil rights matters. Madia Law is located in downtown Minneapolis near Target Field in the Warehouse District.

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Using an Investigator for Employment Law Discovery

July 10, 2013

Employment disputes can be tumultuous, often leading to a “your word against mine” situation.  However, when one of those parties is a large corporation and the other is just a single employee, the employee can be at a slight disadvantage in terms of the weight given to on their recollection of events by the judge […]

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