• March 15, 2018

Minnesota litigators all know the basic rules for calculating deadlines under the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.  For example, we know that weekends and holidays are excluded in calculating deadlines for time periods less than 7 days.  That rule – and other rules governing time calculations – may be changing down the road.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has been considering proposed amendments to the rules of civil procedure.

One proposed amendment to Rule 6 would establish the “day is a day” approach.  When counting days, all days would be counted regardless of the number of days in the period.  So, weekends and holidays would not be excluded in counting days for short periods.

The proposed amendments would make counting backward to calculate deadlines more clear.  If, when counting backward, a deadline would fall on a weekend or holiday, the deadline would be set at the earlier day.

If, when counting forward from an event, a deadline would fall on a weekend or holiday, the deadline would be set at the later day.

And, the proposed amendments would generally adopt a 28-21-14-7 day schedule, as under the federal rules.

So, for example, an answer to a complaint served personally would have to be served within 21 days (not 20 days) as under the current rules.  A reply to a counterclaim in an answer will be due 21 days (not 20 days) from service of the answer.  If, for example, the Court denies a motion to dismiss under Rule 12.01, the responding pleading must be served 14 days (not 10) after service of notice of the court action.

Deadlines for service of the complaint after service by publication would be changed in a similar way.  If the defendant appears within 14 days (not 10 days) after completion of service by publication, the plaintiff will have 7 days (not 5 days) to serve the complaint, and the defendant will then have at least 21 days (not 10 days) to answer the complaint.

These changes will make things easier.  Most deadlines will fall between Monday and Friday.  If you serve a complaint by publication on a Tuesday, your deadline to serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant also falls on a Tuesday one week later, and, if service of the complaint is made on that Tuesday, the defendant’s deadline for answering the complaint falls on a Tuesday three weeks after that.

Similar changes to deadlines in order to adopt the 28-21-14-7 day scheme are sprinkled throughout the proposed rules.

The Supreme Court referred the proposed rules to its advisory committees on the rules of criminal procedure, the general rules of practice, and the rules of civil appellate procedure, for input from those committees.  The committees are to consider whether amendments similar to those proposed for the rules of civil procedure should be adopted for the other court rules.  The committees are to report back by October of this year.

(The Supreme Court did adopt some other amendments to the rules of civil procedure that had been proposed by the MSBA and by the Board on Judicial Standards. The amended rules deal with waiver of service, impleader, discovery, protective orders, summary judgment, and cy pres, mostly intended to conform these rules to provisions in the federal rules.  And, the Court amended Rule 63 so that the standard for disqualification and recusal of judges is the same as the Code of Judicial Conduct standard.  All of the adopted amendments take effect on July 1, 2018.  More on the adopted amendments another day.)


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