The lead attorney representing Michael Brodkorb in his lawsuit against the Minnesota Senate has withdrawn from the case because of an errant filing that released private documents to the public.
Brodkorb, the former spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus, said Phil Villaume decided to withdraw from the case after documents that identified alleged affairs between past and present state lawmakers with legislative staffers were released to the public on July 3. The information, which was briefly published on the federal district court website, was supposed to be under seal.
“In the aftermath of the misfiling of the document, Phil thought it was best that he step back from this case,” Brodkorb said. “He’ll be helpful in the transition to bringing in additional counsel in his case. I accepted his decision that he needed to step aside because a document was misfiled.”
Brodkorb said Villaume accepted responsibility for the paperwork being misfiled. Villaume did not return phone calls.
Greg Walsh, who was already working on the case, will now be Brodkorb’s lead attorney.
Villaume’s decision came one day after attorneys for the Minnesota Senate filed a request for sanctions against Brodkorb’s attorneys because of the documents’ release. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Aug. 29, said Dayle Nolan, the Larkin and Hoffman attorney who is working for the Senate.
Brodkorb is suing the Minnesota Senate for gender discrimination – alleging that he was fired for having an affair with GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch when other female staffers were not reprimanded for having affairs with male lawmakers. Koch resigned her leadership position in December of 2011. Brodkorb was fired one day later. Attorneys for the Senate say he was an at-will employee who was legally fired.
The Senate has already spent $228,000 in taxpayer money on legal bills. The Senate Rules Committee has earmarked another $500,000 for the case. The trial is scheduled to start next summer.