• March 13, 2015

Minnesota Litigator - federal rule changesAn advisory committee to the Minnesota Supreme Court has recommended some changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.

We litigators need to understand two of the proposed changes.

One proposed amendment will provide some narrow grounds for rejecting documents for e-filing. For example, pleadings can be rejected if they list the wrong file number or are filed in the wrong court. Or if a required fee is not paid.

But documents cannot be rejected if they include confidential information. These kinds of documents must be filed but temporarily segregated from documents that may be publicly accessible. This will allow the underlying problem to be corrected. That way attorneys won’t miss filing deadlines for problems that can be corrected.

Another proposed amendment would allow the courts to accept documents like affidavits without notarization if they are signed “under penalty of perjury.” If adopted, this change would allow things like affidavits to be accepted if they are unsworn declarations with this magic language:

“I declare under penalty of perjury that everything I have stated in this document is true and correct.”

The signature, date of signing and county and state where the document was signed would need to be included as well.

This is consistent with a new state statute, which opened the door to unsworn declarations, Minn. Stat. § 358.116.

A minority report took the position that notarization helps prevent fraud and helps detect it. It suggested that notarization should continue to be required for some kinds of affidavits (affidavits showing service of process, affidavits in support of motions for default judgments, and affidavits in support of temporary restraining orders).

The Supreme Court had accepted comments on the proposed rules; the MSBA and judges of the Second Judicial District did submit comments.  The committee chair submitted responses to the comments.

Amended rules will probably be adopted by the Court soon.

So watch for action on this front.

(I will have a post on some related amendments to the General Rules of Practice soon.)

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