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$10 million settlement in Target data breach case

Plus: Target lays off HR employees but extends merchandise return window; legislative auditor criticizes U’s handling of Markingson case; bitter political fight in Lake Elmo; and more.

MinnPost photo by Rita Kovtun

A judge in St. Paul gave preliminary approval to a settlement offer by Target in the class action suit brought against the retailer after a 2013 data breach resulted in the leak of details of up to 40 million credit and debit card accounts. Writing for the AP, Steve Karnowski and Michelle Chapman report, “People affected by the breach can file for up to $10,000 with proof of their losses, including lost time dealing with the problem. ‘Target really needs to be commended for being willing to step up,’ Magnuson said.”

Speaking of Target, about 40 human resources employees who helped orchestrate last week’s layoffs of 1,700 employees got their thank-you from the company Thursday morning when they were notified that their own positions were being eliminated. Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Jim Hammerand gets the official explanation: “… the employees were kept on until the cuts were done ‘because of the logistics involved,’ [Target spokeswoman Molly] Snyder said.”

At least if any of those newly laid off Target employees find themselves stretched financially, they can always return a bunch of merchandise. MPR’s Martin Moylan reports, “Target is planning to relax its return policy in a big way. The Twin Cities-based retailer says it will now give customers a year to return any Target-branded food, clothing, household or other product — that’s about 70,000 different items.”

Minnesota’s legislative auditor has weighed in on the Dan Markingson suicide case. Per the AP, the auditor’s office “found ‘serious ethical issues’ surrounding the suicide of a man enrolled in a University of Minnesota drug trial. The report released Thursday says it’s impossible to know whether Dan Markingson’s enrollment in an anti-psychotic drug study caused him to take his own life in 2004. But the Office of the Legislative Auditor says university leaders have continually dismissed concerns about the case. It recommends the Legislature require the school implement recommendations to strengthen its human research practices from a separate review last month.”

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An explosive political situation in Lake Elmo. The city of 8,000 near the St. Croix has gone through five city administrators in the past seven years. The latest, Dean Zuleger, is leaving, according to Bob Shaw’s story in the Pioneer Press, due to the behavior of Council Member Anne Smith: “Smith’s actions are detailed in a complaint that accuses the council member of slapping, screaming and poking at Zuleger on various occasions, and that three other city employees had filed similar harassment complaints.”

The Miracle of Minneapolis, continued. In a blog post for D Magazine, Peter Simek ponders how Dallas could be more like the Mill City. Meanwhile, PBS’ Newshour checked in with locals about the elephant in the room when it comes to Minneapolis’ supposed greatness: the glaring racial inequalities here.

For what it’s worth, Minneapolis grabbed the coveted “Park Place” spot on a new U.S. edition of the Monopoly board. (Pierre, S.D. got Boardwalk.) [WCCO]

In other news…

“Pickle Factory Stinks Up Southwest Suburbs” [City Pages]

Which is better, Minneapolis or St. Paul? [vita.mn]

“Most of Minnesota is now officially in drought.” [KSTP]

No Sunday sales in the omnibus liquor bill [Star Tribune]

“State officials estimate that 326,170 Minnesotans live within a half mile of railroad tracks that carry crude oil, a distance often known as the danger zone.” [Grand Forks Herald]

R.I.P. RyKrisp [Star Tribune]

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Vikings won’t cut Adrian Peterson [WCCO]