Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court that concluded that a fee agreement between the parties was not void and thus ordering arbitration, holding that the district court erred by directing entry of final judgment rather than staying the proceedings, and therefore, there was no proper final judgment from which to take an appeal. Plaintiffs sued Defendants after learning that Defendants had provided brokerage services to Plaintiffs without the requisite state license. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the fee agreement obligating Defendants to pay for the services provided was void as against public policy. Defendants, in turn, moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the terms of the fee agreement and to dismiss or to stay the underlying proceedings. The district court ordered arbitration and dismissed the case, concluding that the fee agreement was not void. The court of appeals reversed, determining that the fee agreement was void. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ decision, holding that the district court erred by dismissing the case instead of staying proceedings and that the court of appeals erred when it concluded that it had jurisdiction over the merits of this case. View "Woischke v. Stursberg & Fine, Inc." on Justia Law

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State law did not preempt a proposal to amend the charter of the City of Bloomington to require voter approval before the City can implement organized collection of solid waste. Appellants petitioned the City for a ballot initiative seeking the enactment of an ordinance that would require voter approval before the City could implement organized waste collection. The City declined to place Appellants’ proposed amendment on a ballot on the ground that Minn. Stat. 115A.94 preempted the field of regulation by the process by which a city organizes waste collection. The district court granted summary judgment for the City. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the legislature did not intend to occupy the field of regulation of the process of organizing collection of solid waste; and (2) therefore, Appellants’ proposed charter amendment was not preempted by state law. View "Jennissen v. City of Bloomington" on Justia Law

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A facsimile transmission is not a “delivery” under Minn. R. Civ. P. 3.01(c), which requires that a summons be “delivered” to the sheriff before an action is commenced, because Rule 3.01(c) contemplates personal delivery to the office of the sheriff. In this case, Plaintiff faxed a summons and complaint to the sheriffs in two counties. Deputy sheriffs from both counties personally served Defendants. Defendants moved to dismiss the action, arguing that facsimile transmission did not constitute “delivery” of the summons under Rule 3.01(c). The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the sheriffs completed service of process on each of the defendants, thus commencing Plaintiff’s action under Rule 3.01(a). View "Cox v. Mid-Minnesota Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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A facsimile transmission is not a “delivery” under Minn. R. Civ. P. 3.01(c), which requires that a summons be “delivered” to the sheriff before an action is commenced, because Rule 3.01(c) contemplates personal delivery to the office of the sheriff. In this case, Plaintiff faxed a summons and complaint to the sheriffs in two counties. Deputy sheriffs from both counties personally served Defendants. Defendants moved to dismiss the action, arguing that facsimile transmission did not constitute “delivery” of the summons under Rule 3.01(c). The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the sheriffs completed service of process on each of the defendants, thus commencing Plaintiff’s action under Rule 3.01(a). View "Cox v. Mid-Minnesota Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Applying Minn. R. Civ. P. 6.02 to extend the lis pendens deadline in Minn. Stat. 582.043(7)(b) is prohibited because to do so would impermissibly modify the substantive rights provided by the statute. The Supreme Court answered in the negative a question certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit as to whether the lis pendens deadline may be extended upon a showing of excusable neglect under Rule 6.02. At issue was whether the lis pendens recording requirement was procedural or substantive in nature. The Supreme Court held that to extend the lis pendens deadline using Rule 6.02 would be an impermissible intrusion into matters of substantive law. View "Litterer v. Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Appellant BCBSM, Inc. (“Blue Cross”) denied respondent James Linn’s insurance claim because the requested treatment was not considered medically necessary under the parties’ health-plan contract. After Blue Cross denied the claim, an external-review entity determined that the treatment was, in fact, medically necessary for Linn’s condition. Blue Cross paid the claim, but Linn and his wife sued Blue Cross for breach of contract. The district court granted summary judgment for Blue Cross, concluding that the treatment was not medically necessary under the contract’s plain terms and that Blue Cross fulfilled its contractual obligations when it paid for the treatment following the external review. The court of appeals reversed. Because the Minnesota Supreme Court concluded: (1) external-review decisions were independent determinations of medical necessity that did not supersede contractual definitions of medical necessity; and (2) the health-plan contract plainly excluded coverage for Linn’s claim for treatment, the Court reversed. View "Linn v. BCBSM, Inc." on Justia Law

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The court of appeals reversed the jury verdict for Appellant and awarded Respondent’s request to tax costs and disbursements for the appeal. Most of the award was for the interest that Respondent incurred on a loan that it obtained to enable it to post a supersedes bond, which was used to secure the judgment on the jury’s verdict during the appeal. Appellant sought review of the court of appeals’ taxation decision, arguing that the interest was not taxable on appeal. The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition and reversed the court of appeals’ decision to allow taxation of borrowing costs, holding that Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 139 does not permit the taxation of borrowing costs under the circumstances of this case. View "Klapmeier vs. Cirrus Industries, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In this arbitration dispute, the district court erred by directing the entry of final judgment rather than staying the proceeding, and the court of appeals, faced with a final appealable judgment, should have vacated the judgment and entered a stay of the underlying action pending completion of the arbitration. Plaintiff sued Defendants to stop arbitration proceedings after Defendants demanded arbitration and an arbitrator determined that the dispute was arbitrable. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants and compelled arbitration. Instead of staying the underlying action, the district court directed the entry of judgment. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court’s order was a final judgment because it dismissed, rather than stayed, the underlying proceeding. The court of appeals disagreed and dismissed the appeal as taken from a nonfinal order and judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred by directing the entry of final judgment rather than staying the proceeding, as required by Minn. Stat. 572B.07(f); and (2) the proper course for the court of appeals, faced with a final judgment that was appealable under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(a), was to direct the district court to vacate the judgment and enter a stay of the underlying action pending completion of the arbitration. View "City of Rochester v. Kottschade" on Justia Law

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Respondent brought suit against Appellant by service of a summons and complaint, raising claims of negligence, assault and battery. The case was pending when Minn. R. Civ. P. 5.04(a) went into effect. The case was subsequently deemed to be dismissed with prejudice under the new Rule 5.04(a). Respondent moved to vacate the judgment under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02, arguing that Rule 5.04(a) violated his right o procedural due process and that relief was warranted due to excusable neglect. The district court concluded that Rule 60.02 is inapplicable to a dismissal under Rule 5.04(a) or, alternatively, that Respondent failed to establish all four requirements for relief under Rule 60.02. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) Rule 60.02 applies to a dismissal under Rule 5.04(a); (2) a dismissal under Rule 5.04(a) does not violate procedural due process; and (3) the district court failed to make findings sufficient to enable appellate review of its Rule 60.02 finding. View "Gams v. Houghton" on Justia Law

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Respondent brought a civil suit against Appellant. After Respondent transmitted the summons, complaint, and affidavit of service, Appellant filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Respondent failed to timely file. Respondent filed a motion to vacate under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02, arguing that his counsel’s admitted neglect in timely filing was excusable because of counsel’s ignorance of the law. The district court dismissed the action, concluding that ignorance of the law by Respondent’s counsel was not excusable neglect under Rule 60.02. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding that the district court abused its discretion by failing to consider all four requirements from Finden v. Klaas. Remanded to the district court for reconsideration of Respondent’s Rule 60.02 motion. View "Cole v. Wutzke" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure