The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved a post-verdict settlement of $595,000 to a firefighter who successfully sued the city last month.
In December, a federal jury found that Jean Kidd was unfairly demoted in 2009 after criticizing then-Fire Chief Alex Jackson. At the time Kidd was a deputy chief who took part in an anonymous survey of the chief's performance.
Kidd wrote that Jackson was "not decisive" and "not proactive." Jackson recognized Kidd's writing style and demoted her to captain shortly after receiving the evaluation. However, he denied his decision was based on Kidd's comments.
City attorneys said Jackson was utilizing his authority as chief to pick and choose his command staff.
But the jury found in favor of Kidd's argument that the chief's actions violated her 1st Amendment rights. They ordered the city to compensate Kidd for lost pay, emotional distress and tacked on punitive damage.
Kidd's attorney Andrew Mueller said legal fees would have brought the total award to $742,000. But they settled on a lower amount of fees.