The fight for preferred forum is an important preliminary skirmish in any interstate legal battle — that is, in any litigation between, say, a Minnesota company and an out-of-state company. And the proverbial “race to the courthouse” is a very common threshold issue.
As every experienced Minnesota civil litigator knows, lawsuits, under Minnesota law, “commence” upon service of the summons and complaint, NOT upon filing. So, the question arises, what if the Minnesota case is served first but the out-of-state case is filed first?
According to U.S. Dist. Court Judge Ann Montgomery, the so-called “first filed rule” means what it says and the inquiry is which case is filed first. Other courts (and the District of Minnesota, in particular) have ruled otherwise in other cases, but the “practice pointer” is maybe self-evident: when your client is headed for litigation, FILE first. Judge Montgomery’s decision is after the break.
Twin City Gaming v FortuNet Millennium Games