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July settlement conference scheduled in District 518, former employee lawsuit

MINNEAPOLIS — According to an order filed last week in the United States District Court of Minnesota, Independent School District 518, its former employee Karen Abbott and their legal counsel are expected to work to resolve a civil lawsuit during a scheduled July 8 settlement conference.

The settlement conference is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 9E, U.S. Courthouse, 300 S. Fourth St., Minneapolis. The conference is planned to continue throughout the day and evening, if necessary.

In a stated effort to encourage parties to address the settlement issue on their own prior to the conference, parties are to meet on or before July 1 “to engage in a full and frank discussion of settlement” regarding the civil lawsuit filed by Abbott. The suit alleges a string of employee rights violations conducted by the district during her approximately seven-month employment with the district as an Area Learning Center special education teacher.

If the case does not settle, each party is to submit a confidential letter to the court on or before July 1. Failure for any party to comply with the order could result in postponement of the July 8 settlement conference and sanctions may be imposed on the party who failed to comply, the order states.

A criminal case against Abbott, which alleges she unlawfully disseminated private student data, remains active in Nobles County District Court. A pre-trial conference for the misdemeanor charge has been scheduled multiple times over the past three months, but a judge has granted her attorney’s request for continuance on two occasions due to a reported scheduling conflict. A third continuance has also been granted at the request of both the defense and prosecution.

As of Tuesday afternoon, her pre-trial hearing is scheduled March 26 in Nobles County District Court.