The Open Meeting Law provides that an official can be removed from office after three intentional violations. In Funk v. O’Connor, the Minnesota Supreme Court holds that the “three strikes rule” requires that the three violations must be determined by “separate, serial actions,” with the third action brought following an earlier adjudication finding intentional violations.
This means that public officials will be given notice and an opportunity to avoid future data practices violations before simply being removed from office in those cases where they make mistakes that violate the Open Meeting Law. The case arose out of a political dispute in the City of Victoria wherein a number of plaintiffs represented by the same attorney brought simultaneous actions against public officials for multiple Open Meeting Law violations. Justice McKeig’s opinion is terse, well written, and eminently sensible.
Anyone with questions about the decision is encouraged to contact members of the Quinlivan & Hughes Government Law Practice Group, including Ken Bayliss, Dyan Ebert, Cally Kjellberg-Nelson, or Chad Staul.