A recent change in Minnesota’s rules regarding service of a lawsuit on a party, and filing the lawsuit with the court, has been somewhat controversial. Formerly a plaintiff and a defendant could litigate between themselves without any court filing or court involvement until one of them decided to file the lawsuit with a court. There was no requirement that the lawsuit ever be filed with a court.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the new rule requires that lawsuits be filed with a court within one year of service of the lawsuit. Otherwise it will be dismissed with prejudice when/if it is filed. Long ago, I predicted that this would result in potential malpractice claims for lawyers who miss this significant rule change.
Plaintiff Alysa Zimmerle and her lawyers learned of the rule change the hard way. Ms. Zimmerle’s case was dismissed with prejudice even though the defendant, X-Pole USA, LLC, never responded to the complaint and defaulted in the lawsuit.
The ruling against Plaintiff Zimmerle seems severe and unfortunate. But the lawsuit was a personal injury lawsuit arising from Ms. Zimmerle’s dropping a dance pole on her foot when removing it from packaging. While it would be callous to make light of her injury, this is not a case likely to gnaw at the consciences of the deciding judges or trigger public outrage.