FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Journalist Represented by UMLC Reaches Settlement of Lawsuit Against Outgoing Commissioner Steve Grove
DEED to pay $17k, comply with data requests, and review department policy
Golden Valley, MN – Earlier this week, journalist Tony Webster, represented by the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC), reached a full settlement of his lawsuit filed in November 2022 against the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Commissioner Steve Grove back in November of 2022.
Webster sued DEED and Commissioner Grove after they refused to provide lists of who the agency official blocked on his Twitter account, thus shielding governmental updates from being seen by and subjected to scrutiny by members of the public.
The settlement includes production of the initially refused data to Webster, compliance with future requests for DEED-affiliated Twitter block lists, a review of DEED’s policy, and a monetary payment of $17,000 from DEED to Webster.
“During his administration, Commissioner Grove used his personal Twitter account as a means to communicate essential information with Minnesotans across the state,” said James Dickey, Senior Trial and Appellate Counsel for UMLC. “Through his work as a journalist, Mr. Webster discovered that the Commissioner had blocked multiple Minnesotans from viewing his Twitter posts. When Mr. Webster sought public transparency on Grove’s block list, his requests were rejected. That should never have happened—these block lists are public data. We are glad to have resolved this case, and we look forward to DEED’s future compliance with the Data Practices Act.”
Read the full settlement agreement here.
Upper Midwest Law Center is a non-profit, public-interest law firm with the mission to initiate pro-freedom litigation to protect against constitutional violations, government overreach, special interest agendas, and public union corruption and abuses. UMLC is a 501(c)(3) organization.