Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court adopted some amendments to court rules that will make our lives as lawyers easier! 

New deadlines

The amendments set new deadlines for many court filings.

And, the amendments will make it easier to figure out deadlines for court filings.

The amended rules adopt a 28 – 21 – 14 – 7 day system.   Rather than the 3 day, 5 day, 9 day, 10 day and 20 day deadlines set by existing court rules.

So, for example, under the amended rules, the moving party’s initial filings for dispositive motions will be due 28 days before the hearing, as now.  But, responsive documents will be due 14 days before the hearing (rather than 9 days before), and replies will be due 7 days (rather than 3 days) before the hearing.  This means that if you file your opening memo on a Monday, the other side’s response documents will be due predictably on a Monday (absent a legal holiday screwing things up), and your reply will also be due on a Monday. 

The same kinds of amendments change the deadlines for nondispositive motions.  So motion documents by a moving party for a nondispositive motion must be served and filed 21 days (rather than 14 days) before a hearing, responses are due 14 days (rather than 7) before a hearing, and replies are due 7 (rather than 3) days before a hearing, for the same good reasons.   All documents will be due on the same day of the week (again, absent a legal holiday). 

Attorneys will need to double-check all deadlines as the new rules go into effect.  

The “next day” rule

The amendments adopt the “day is a day” approach.  So weekends and holidays are always included in calculating the deadline.  No skipping weekend days.

What if a due date will fall on a weekend or holiday?  The due date will then be the “next day” that is not a weekend or holiday. 

The new rules define “next day.”  To figure out the “next day,” you continue “to count forward when the period is measured after an event and backward when measured before an event.”  So, if your summary judgment motion is scheduled, and the 28-day period falls on a Saturday, you count backward to the preceding Friday to figure out your deadline. 

When, on the other hand, you have 21 days to answer a complaint, and the 21rst day falls on a Saturday, you count forward to the following Monday to calculate your due date. 

The new timing rules are consistent with amendments made a while ago to the federal rules of civil procedure.  Another advantage!  No need to remember two sets of rules. 

The Court adopted amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, and the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure

All the amendments take effect on January 1, 2020. 

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