Thomas Harder

Partner

Tom Harder is Partner Emeritus in Foley Mansfield's Minneapolis office. During his tenure, Tom's practice included employment litigation and professional liability defense. For many years, he oversaw the firm’s internal employment, insurance liability and risk management functions on a national basis. 

Tom retired in April 2022.


REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS


LaMont v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 728814 N.W.2d 14 (Minn. 2012).
In a case of first impression, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined that a claim of sexual harassment can be a viable claim, even if the behavior is not sexual in nature, if it is based upon sex.  However, the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal on summary judgment by the District Court and by the Court of Appeals on the basis that the conduct alleged was not sufficiently severe or pervasive as to constitute a hostile environment.

Bahr v. Capella Univ.788 N.W.2d 76 (Minn. 2010).
In a case of first impression, the Minnesota Supreme Court considered whether a Minnesota Human Rights Act retaliation claim required a report of an act prohibited by the Minnesota Human Rights Act, or simply a report of an action that the employee reasonably believed to be in violation of the Human Rights Act.  The Supreme Court held that the employee could not have had a reasonable belief that the reported action was in violation of the Human Rights Act.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, and affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of the lawsuit, on the basis that that Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Folstad v. Eder 467 N.W.2d 608 (Minn. 1991).
On a case of first impression, the Supreme Court affirmed a “reverse Naig” settlement noting that “In this case, Defendant’s Counsel [was] operating in unchartered waters…”

Bush v. City of Lakefield, 399 N.W.2d 169 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987).
The Court of Appeals affirmed a Rule 12 dismissal of Plaintiff’s statutory claim for reimbursement of attorney’s fees against his employer.

Denoto v. Sears Imported Autos, Inc., No. A11-1355, 2012 WL 1149350 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2012).
In this case, the Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment motion dismissing Plaintiff’s claim of common law whistle blowing, adopting Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff had not established a clear violation of public policy.

Jansen v. Franciscan Health Cmty., No. A10-1021, 2010 WL 5071409 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2010).
In this case, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s claim under the Minnesota “Equalization” statute – affirming that a nursing home can charge a higher rate for a private room, notwithstanding the Minnesota Equalization law – Minn. Stat. § 256b.48.

Nelson v. Pinnacle Eng'g Inc., No. A09-2114, 2010 WL 3306919 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 24, 2010).
In this case, the Court of Appeals affirmed the department’s denial of Plaintiff’s claim for benefits, affirming that Plaintiff did not have good cause to quit her job when her pay was adjusted based upon time away from work for lactation purposes.

White v. City of N. Branch, No. C3-95-1437, 1995 WL 731340 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 12, 1995).
In this case, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s summary dismissal of Plaintiff’s employment claim based upon the fact that she had made fraudulent representations in her resume and job application.

Music Cafes, Inc. v. City of Edina, 99 F.3d 288, 288 (8th Cir. 1996).
Affirmed a District Court dismissal of Plaintiff’s § 1983 claim, in which Plaintiff alleged they were denied a permit to hold public dances based upon racial prejudices.

Dixon v. Mount Olivet Careview Home, No. CIV. 09-1099 (MJD/AJB), 2010 WL 3733936 (D. Minn. Sept. 17, 2010).
The District Court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims in part.  The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s state disability and discrimination claims, determining that Plaintiff was not disabled, as a matter of law.  The Court further dismissed Plaintiff’s human rights retaliation claim adopting the argument that Defendant had no reason to know of Plaintiff’s complaint to the Human Rights Department, thereby foreclosing a retaliation claim.

Barrett v. Inver Grove Motors, LLC, No. CIV 07-2165 (RHK/JSM), 2008 WL 4057641 (D. Minn. Aug. 26, 2008).
The District Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s race discrimination claim holding that Plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that Defendant’s stated reason for termination was pretextual.

Carlsen v. Green Thumb, Inc., No. CIV. 01-2076JRTRLE, 2004 WL 234406 (D. Minn. Feb. 4, 2004).
In this case, the District Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s state disability discrimination claim.  The Court held that Plaintiff was not disabled, as a matter of law, and that in any event, Defendant had established a legitimate business reason for Plaintiff’s termination.


AWARDS

Rated AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell® Super Lawyers® list by Minnesota Law & Politics Magazine


MEDIA

Spoliation of Evidence - A Cautionary Tale View/ListenTom Harder provides a cautionary tale to employers about the importance of saving interview notes in this blog post.

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