A New Year Brings New Changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure:
Streamlining Time Provisions and Deadlines
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.
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 This rule has been repealed.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.
Maya Digre focuses her practice on toxic torts, insurance-related litigation, and product liability defense. She received her J.D., cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she participated in the Energy and Environmental Competition Moot Court team and served as a staff member and editor of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science, and Technology. Digre obtained her B.S., summa cum laude from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, where she majored in political science and participated on the mock trial team. During law school, she worked as a law clerk at HKM, gaining invaluable experience sharpening her persuasive writing and in-depth researching skills. She is licensed to practice in Wisconsin state court.
Cody Bauer focuses his practice on product liability, transportation litigation, commercial litigation, and insurance-related litigation. During law school, he worked as a law clerk at HKM, gaining valuable experience and honing his skills in writing persuasive briefs, conducting thorough legal analysis, and assisting with case management. Bauer received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Mitchell Hamline School of Law where he earned multiple Dean’s Awards and served as an associate on the Mitchell Hamline Law Review. He obtained his B.A., cum laude, from Marquette University, where he majored in criminology and law studies, as well as psychology. He is licensed in Wisconsin state court and admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.