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Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed four alleged “tort reform” bills that the legislature had recently passed.  These bills would have cut the statute of limitations (the time in which you must bring a suit after the injury or illegal conduct occurred) on many negligence claims (such as personal injury claims) from six years to four, would have made it much more difficult for plaintiffs to obtain class action status, would have reduced the availability of attorneys’ fees awards in employment claims and significantly reduced interest rates a plaintiff could recover on a judgment.

In vetoing these bills that proponents had labeled “jobs bills,” Dayton noted that they did not create any jobs.  Dayton also stated that he did not understand why these bills were necessary to create a better business climate in Minnesota when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Minnesota near the top of the list when it comes to the treatment of business in the courtroom.

For employees, the governor’s veto of these bills was a significant.  Many times employees come to me with claims that may be low in dollar value but it is clear that their employer has broken the law.  These employees are also often out of work because they have been illegally fired and can’t afford to pay an attorney.  Without the possibility of obtaining attorneys’ fees from the employer upon a showing that the employer violated the law, attorneys like myself could not afford to represent employees and these illegal practices would go unpunished.  Also, the right of  employees to bring a class action lawsuit when their claims and damages are sufficiently similar is also a strong tool that provides redress for illegal employment practices.