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In 1984 the women of the Iron Range mine had finally had enough � of unwanted touching, sexually explicit graffiti, and offensive language. They went looking for a lawyer and made legal history. Now a Warner Brothers film inspired by the true events at the Eveleth, Minn., mine has reached movie theaters. “North Country,” starring Charlize Theron, presents a somewhat fictionalized account of Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co., the first successful class action over sexual harassment. The case settled for a confidential amount in 1998. The lead counsel in the 12-year case was Paul Sprenger of Sprenger & Lang, a firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis. Sprenger says he initially thought “the conduct in the mine was so outrageous that anyone with half a brain would settle it.” Instead, he says, defense attorneys turned it into a “crusade.” Sprenger calls the Iron Range women “heroes” (although, he grants, none “looked like Charlize”). He is played by Woody Harrelson. “I don’t know how I feel about being played by a bartender,” says Sprenger, with mock chagrin, recalling Harrelson’s breakout role in the TV sitcom “Cheers.”

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