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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

611A.79 CIVIL DAMAGES FOR BIAS OFFENSES.
    Subdivision 1. Definition. For purposes of this section, "bias offense" means conduct that
would constitute a crime and was committed because of the victim's or another's actual or
perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability as defined in section 363A.03,
age, or national origin.
    Subd. 2. Cause of action; damages and fees injunction. A person who is damaged by
a bias offense has a civil cause of action against the person who committed the offense. The
plaintiff is entitled to recover the greater of:
(i) $500; or
(ii) actual general and special damages, including damages for emotional distress.
A plaintiff also may obtain punitive damages as provided in sections 549.191 and 549.20
or an injunction or other appropriate relief.
    Subd. 3. Relation to criminal proceeding; burden of proof. A person may bring an action
under this section regardless of the existence or outcome of criminal proceedings involving the
bias offense that is the basis for the action. The burden of proof in an action under this section
is preponderance of the evidence.
    Subd. 4. Parental liability. Section 540.18 applies to actions under this section, except that:
(1) the parent or guardian is liable for all types of damages awarded under this section in an
amount not exceeding $5,000; and
(2) the parent or guardian is not liable if the parent or guardian made reasonable efforts
to exercise control over the minor's behavior.
    Subd. 5. Trial; limitation period. (a) The right to trial by jury is preserved in an action
brought under this section.
(b) An action under this section must be commenced not later than six years after the cause
of action arises.
    Subd. 6. Other rights preserved. The remedies under this section do not affect any rights
or remedies of the plaintiff under other law.
History: 1996 c 468 s 1