Crow Wing County Board: County agrees to $65K payout

The Crow Wing County Board approved a settlement agreement Tuesday with a Brainerd attorney who sued several cities and counties over improper access of her driver's license information.


The Crow Wing County Board approved a settlement agreement Tuesday with a Brainerd attorney who sued several cities and counties over improper access of her driver's license information.

After meeting in closed session to discuss the pending litigation, the board-minus the absent Commissioner Paul Thiede-unanimously approved accepting the settlement with Misty Kay Myers over the allegations. The agreement means the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust will pay Myers $65,000 in damages and attorneys' fees.

In a 2014 lawsuit-one of several filed across the state concerning improper access to license records-Myers said personnel responsible for accessing her information violated the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act, along with her civil rights.

"More disturbing, these personnel, charged with protecting and serving the public, knowingly abused their position of trust simply to satisfy their shallow desires to peek behind the curtain into the private life of Myers, without her knowledge or consent, and without ever informing her of their activities," stated Myers' initial civil complaint.

The Driver and Vehicle Services Division database contains information on individuals, including dates of birth, driver's license numbers, addresses, driver's license photos, weights, heights, Social Security numbers, various health and disability information and eye colors dating back to a driver's first license in the state. According to Myers' complaint, law enforcement personnel, public employees and others viewed and obtained her information about 84 times between 2007-13.


As both an attorney and the wife of a police officer, Myers was known to those in the legal system. The Brainerd resident was the volunteer coordinator for the Crow Wing County DWI Court from 2009-14 and served as the president of the Crow Wing/Aitkin County Bar Association. She also sat on the board of directors for the Lakes Area Restorative Justice Program, resigning in December 2013. Myers is currently the attorney for the National Joint Powers Alliance, based in Staples.

Crow Wing County was one of nine local governments listed in the lawsuit, including Cass, Aitkin, McLeod and Mille Lacs counties and the cities of Baxter, Chaska, Crosby, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes. The specific employees involved were also listed, including many John and Jane Does.

Myers' complaint alleged the information was obtained "for purposes that were purely personal to Crow Wing County's personnel." No explanation was offered on behalf of the defendants on why the information was accessed.

Although agreeing to the terms of a settlement, Crow Wing County "denied any violation of the law and continues to deny any such violation." The terms of the settlement release both the county and the plaintiff from any future claims pertaining to actions up to the date of the agreement.

The county also agreed to provide Myers' attorneys with certification of training on the laws through the DVS division and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension of two specific employees: Jessica Turner, 911 dispatcher, and Scott Heide, 911 communications specialist. County Administrator Tim Houle said these two employees were those believed by the plaintiff to be involved in the information lookups.

Myers' lawsuit was dismissed against defendants Aitkin County, Central Minnesota Community Corrections and former CMCC employee Shannon Wussow. The status of the case with other area entities was unknown Tuesday.

Myers' lawsuit was one of several filed in the state since 2013. The lawsuit of another local attorney Brook Mallak, who sued local governments including Crow Wing County on similar grounds in 2013, is ongoing. On June 28, a settlement conference was ordered for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 3.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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