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Cody M. Bauer and Maya H. Digre<sup>1</sup>

Cody M. Bauer and Maya H. Digre<sup>1</sup>

January 1, 2020

A New Year Brings New Changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure

As we embark on 2020, several changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of General Practice take effect. These changes apply to all cases pending as of January 1, 2020.2 The most significant changes concern timing provisions and deadline calculations for filing motions and answers. While certain amendments are a notable departure from current practice in the state, the Supreme Court touts that the changes will simplify the calculation of deadlines and unify time-based procedures in the rules.

Counting Rules
The counting rules were rewritten to mirror those found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The rules in Minnesota contain a number of 5-day deadlines. Under the existing rules, when a deadline was shorter than 7 days, weekends and legal holidays were not counted in determining the deadline—so all 5-day deadlines effectively became 7-day deadlines. This rule has been repealed. Now, under the amended rules, all days—including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays—are counted, unless another rule provides otherwise, just as with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.3 Additionally, under the amended rules, if the due date under any rule is on a weekend, the date falls to the next day that is not a weekend or holiday. The amended rule eases some of the burdensome intricacies of the former rule and ensures a more practical process for counting deadlines.

Answers and Motions
Other important changes include those to briefing schedules for both dispositive and non-dispositive motions. Under the prior rule for dispositive motions, the initial brief would be filed at least 28 days before the hearing, the response at least 9 days, and the reply at least 3 days. The amendment changes the timing mechanism to follow the 28-14-7 structure of its federal counterpart.4 Now, a dispositive motion in Minnesota will be due 28 days before the hearing, the response 14 days, and the reply 7 days.

Non-dispositive motions also change—from the 14-7-3-day deadline structure to a 21-14-7 scheme.5 Another change appears in Rule 12. Starting January 1, 2020 defendants will have an extra day to serve an answer, changing the deadline to serve a response from 20 days to 21.6

Discovery and Other Timing Changes
Timing amendments extend to discovery rules as well. For example, the time limit to respond to a motion for a discovery conference is lengthened from 10 days to 14.7 Additionally, the time period for notice to an expected adverse party of a deposition before action or pending appeal is increased from 20 days to 21,8 and objections to the form of written questions used in depositions goes from 5 days to 7.9 These amendments, again, are in keeping with the federal rules.

Additional amendments that will impact civil litigation in Minnesota include timing for medical disclosures, default judgments, offers of judgment or settlement, and more. For further detail, review the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Orders Amending Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of General Practice.m


1 Various other attorneys at HAWS-KM, P.A. contributed to this article.
2 The Minnesota Supreme Court has clarified that, in addition to all cases filed on or after January 1, 2020, the amendments also apply to all cases pending as of January 1, 2020.  The Supreme Court approved these rule amendments in June 2019.
3 See Minn. R. Civ. P. 6.01.
4 See Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 115.03.
5 See Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 115.04.
6 See Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.01.
7 See Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.06(d).
8 See Minn. R. Civ. P. 27.01(b).
9 See Minn. R. Civ. P. 32.04(c)(3).



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