• December 20, 2019

Update (12/20/2019):

A reminder:  Amendments to Minnesota court rules go into effect on January 1, 2020. 

There are amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Practice, and the Minnesota General Rules of Practice.

The amendments change the deadlines for many court filings.

Generally, the rules change the deadlines from a system with 3-day, 5-day, 9-day, 10-day and 20-day deadlines to a 7-14-21-28 day system.

So, for example, a responsive memorandum for a summary judgment motion, will now be due 14 days before the hearing rather than 9 days.

The changes will make figuring out deadlines easier.  Filings will generally be due on the same day of the week. So if your opponent files a motion to dismiss on a Thursday, your response will also be due on a Thursday.  (Absent an intervening holiday screwing things up.)

Some things you will need to know:

  • The new deadlines.
  • In particular, the fact that motion papers for non-dispositive motions will now be due 21 days before the hearing, not 14 days.  (!)  And responses to non-dispositive motions will be due 14 days before the hearing, not 7 days. 
  • Holidays and weekend days are included in counting days.  (Unless a statute or rule says otherwise.) 

The most basic amendments change the deadlines for dispositive and non-dispositive motions in civil cases generally.  Many other provisions address other deadlines, for example, deadlines for filings in family court and probate.   Amendments to specific provisions are sprinkled throughout the general rules of practice.  So, for example, if you practice family law, you will need to understand the amendments that apply specifically to family law filings.

Before you file anything in the next few months, you should check the rules each time, to be sure you are applying the correct rules.

One more thing:  After the new rules were adopted in June 2019, the Supreme Court amended them again in August, changing the effective date of the amendments.  So now the new time limits will apply not only to new cases filed after January 1, 2020, but also to pending cases.  “[U]nless the court finds that the application of the rules as amended in a particular action pending on the effective date is not feasible or would work an injustice,” in which case the prior deadlines will apply.   

So plan to comply with the new deadline for cases filed after January 1, and for all pending cases (unless you can show that the exception to the timing rules should apply).

Original post (June 26, 2019): 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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