13.08 CIVIL REMEDIES.
Subdivision 1. Action for damages.
, a responsible authority
or government entity which violates any provision of this chapter is liable to a person or
representative of a decedent who suffers any damage as a result of the violation, and the person
damaged or a representative in the case of private data on decedents or confidential data on
decedents may bring an action against the responsible authority or government entity to cover
any damages sustained, plus costs and reasonable attorney fees. In the case of a willful violation,
the government entity shall, in addition, be liable to exemplary damages of not less than $100,
nor more than $10,000 for each violation. The state is deemed to have waived any immunity to
a cause of action brought under this chapter.
Subd. 2. Injunction.
A responsible authority or government entity which violates or
proposes to violate this chapter may be enjoined by the district court. The court may make any
order or judgment as may be necessary to prevent the use or employment by any person of any
practices which violate this chapter.
Subd. 3. Venue.
An action filed pursuant to this section may be commenced in the county
in which the individual alleging damage or seeking relief resides, or in the county wherein the
political subdivision exists, or, in the case of the state, any county.
Subd. 4. Action to compel compliance.
(a) In addition to the remedies provided in
subdivisions 1 to 3 or any other law, any aggrieved person seeking to enforce the person's
rights under this chapter or obtain access to data may bring an action in district court to compel
compliance with this chapter and may recover costs and disbursements, including reasonable
attorney's fees, as determined by the court. If the court determines that an action brought under
this subdivision is frivolous and without merit and a basis in fact, it may award reasonable costs
and attorney fees to the responsible authority. If the court issues an order to compel compliance
under this subdivision, the court may impose a civil penalty of up to $300 against the government
entity. This penalty is payable to the state general fund and is in addition to damages under
subdivision 1. The matter shall be heard as soon as possible. In an action involving a request for
government data under section
, the court may inspect in camera the government
data in dispute, but shall conduct its hearing in public and in a manner that protects the security
of data classified as not public. If the court issues an order to compel compliance under this
subdivision, the court shall forward a copy of the order to the commissioner of administration.
(b) In determining whether to assess a civil penalty under this subdivision, the court shall
consider whether the government entity has substantially complied with general data practices
under this chapter, including but not limited to, whether the government entity has:
(1) designated a responsible authority under section
13.02, subdivision 16
(2) designated a data practices compliance official under section
13.05, subdivision 13
(3) prepared the public document that names the responsible authority and describes the
records and data on individuals that are maintained by the government entity under section
(4) developed public access procedures under section
13.03, subdivision 2
; procedures to
guarantee the rights of data subjects under section
13.05, subdivision 8
; and procedures to ensure
that data on individuals are accurate and complete and to safeguard the data's security under
13.05, subdivision 5
(5) acted in conformity with an opinion issued under section
that was sought by a
government entity or another person; or
(6) provided ongoing training to government entity personnel who respond to requests
under this chapter.
(c) The court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff who has brought
an action under this subdivision if the government entity that is the defendant in the action was
also the subject of a written opinion issued under section
and the court finds that the
opinion is directly related to the cause of action being litigated and that the government entity
did not act in conformity with the opinion.
Subd. 5. Immunity from liability.
A government entity or person that releases not public
data pursuant to an order under section
13.03, subdivision 6
is immune from civil and criminal
Subd. 6. Immunity from liability; personnel settlement.
No cause of action may arise as a
result of the release of data contained in a termination or personnel settlement agreement if the
data were not public data as defined in section
, at the time the agreement was executed
but become public data under a law enacted after execution.
History: 1974 c 479 s 5; 1975 c 401 s 5; 1976 c 239 s 4,5; 1979 c 328 s 14; 1980 c 603
s 13; 1981 c 311 s 39; 1Sp1981 c 4 art 1 s 8-10; 1982 c 545 s 24; 1985 c 298 s 5,6; 1986 c
444; 1991 c 319 s 30; 1999 c 227 s 22; 2000 c 468 s 8; 2001 c 202 s 3; 1Sp2003 c 8 art 2 s 3;
2005 c 163 s 29-31; 2007 c 129 s 8