Rules of Civil Procedure
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Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure
Please note that lobbyists are active in the state of Minnesota and laws concerning civil procedure and process serving can change. Therefore the information listed below may have been amended. For updated process serving legislation, please visit the Minnesota Courts website.
Rule 3.Commencement of the Action; Service of the Complaint; Filing of the Action
3.01 Commencement of the Action
A civil action is commenced against each defendant:
(a) when the summons is served upon that defendant; or
(b) at the date of signing a waiver of service pursuant to Rule 4.05; or
(c) when the summons is delivered to the sheriff in the county where the defendant resides for service; but such delivery shall be ineffectual unless within 60 days thereafter the summons is actually served on that defendant or the first publication thereof is made.
Filing requirements are set forth in Rule 5.04, which requires filing with the court within one year after commencement for non-family cases.
3.02 Service of Complaint
A copy of the complaint shall be served with the summons, except when the service is by publication as provided in Rule 4.04.
4.01 Summons; Form
The summons shall state the name of the court and the names of the parties, be subscribed by the plaintiff or by the plaintiff’s attorney, give an address within the state where the subscriber may be served in person and by mail, state the time within which these rules require the defendant to serve an answer, and notify the defendant that if the defendant fails to do so judgment by default will be rendered against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint.
4.02 By Whom Served
Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the sheriff or any other person not less than 18 years of age and not a party to the action, may make service of a summons or other process.
4.03 Personal Service
Service of summons within the state shall be as follows:
(a) Upon an Individual. Upon an individual by delivering a copy to the individual personally or by leaving a copy at the individual’s usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein.
If the individual has, pursuant to statute, consented to any other method of service or appointed an agent to receive service of summons, or if a statute designates a state official to receive service of summons, service may be made in the manner provided by such statute.
If the individual is confined to a state institution, by serving also the chief executive officer at the institution.
If the individual is an infant under the age of 14 years, by serving also the individual’s father or mother, and if neither is within the state, then a resident guardian if the infant has one known to the plaintiff, and if the infant has none, then the person having control of such defendant, or with whom the infant resides, or by whom the infant is employed.
(b) Upon Partnerships and Associations. Upon a partnership or association which is subject to suit under a common name, by delivering a copy to a member or the managing agent of the partnership or association. If the partnership or association has, pursuant to statute, consented to any other method of service or appointed an agent to receive service of summons, or if a statute designates a state official to receive service of summons, service may be made in the manner provided by such statute.
(c) Upon a Corporation. Upon a domestic or foreign corporation, by delivering a copy to an officer or managing agent, or to any other agent authorized expressly or impliedly or designated by statute to receive service of summons, and if the agent is one authorized or designated under statute to receive service any statutory provision for the manner of such service shall be complied with. In the case of a transportation or express corporation, the summons may be served by delivering a copy to any ticket, freight, or soliciting agent found in the county in which the action is brought, and if such corporation is a foreign corporation and has no such agent in the county in which the plaintiff elects to bring the action, then upon any such agent of the corporation within the state.
(d) Upon the State. Upon the state by delivering a copy to the attorney general, a deputy attorney general or an assistant attorney general.
(e) Upon Public Corporation. Upon a municipal or other public corporation by delivering a copy
(1) To the chair of the county board or to the county auditor of a defendant county;
(2) To the chief executive officer or to the clerk of a defendant city, village or borough;
(3) To the chair of the town board or to the clerk of a defendant town;
(4) To any member of the board or other governing body of a defendant school district; or
(5) To any member of the board or other governing body of a defendant public board or public body not hereinabove enumerated.
If service cannot be made as provided in this Rule 4.03(e), the court may direct the manner of such service.
4.04 Service by Publications; Personal Service Out of State
(a) Service by Publications. Service by publication shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction:
(1) When the defendant is a resident individual domiciliary having departed from the state with intent to defraud creditors, or to avoid service, or remains concealed therein with the like intent;
(2) When the plaintiff has acquired a lien upon property or credits within the state by attachment or garnishment, and
(A) The defendant is a resident individual who has departed from the state, or cannot be found therein, or
(B) The defendant is a nonresident individual or a foreign corporation, partnership or association;
When quasi in rem jurisdiction has been obtained, a party defending the action thereby submits personally to the jurisdiction of the court. An appearance solely to contest the validity of quasi in rem jurisdiction is not such a submission.
(3) When the action is for marriage dissolution or separate maintenance and the court has ordered service by published notice;
(4) When the subject of the action is real or personal property within the state in or upon which the defendant has or claims a lien or interest, or the relief demanded consists wholly or partly in excluding the defendant from any such interest or lien;
(5) When the action is to foreclose a mortgage or to enforce a lien on real estate within the state.
The summons may be served by three weeks’ published notice in any of the cases enumerated herein when the complaint and an affidavit of the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney have been filed with the court. The affidavit shall state the existence of one of the enumerated cases, and that the affiant believes the defendant is not a resident of the state or cannot be found therein, and either that the affiant has mailed a copy of the summons to the defendant at the defendant’s place of residence or that such residence is not known to the affiant. The service of the summons shall be deemed complete 21 days after the first publication.
(b) Personal Service Outside State. Personal service of such summons outside the state, proved by the affidavit of the person making the same, shall have the same effect as the published notice provided for herein.
(c) Service Outside United States. Unless otherwise provided by law, service upon an individual, other than an infant or an incompetent person, may be effected in a place not within the state:
(1) by any internationally agreed means reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those means authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents; or
(2) if there is no internationally agreed means of service or the applicable international agreement allows other means of service, provided that service is reasonably calculated to give notice;
(A) in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or
(B) as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory or letter of request; or
(C) unless prohibited by the law of the foreign country, by
(i) delivery to the individual personally of a copy of the summons and the complaint; or
(ii) any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the court administrator to the party to be served; or
(3) by other means not prohibited by international agreement as may be directed by the court.
4.041 Additional Information to be Published
In all cases where publication of summons is made in an action in which the title to, or any interest in or lien upon, real property is involved or affected or is brought in question, the publication shall also contain a description of the real property involved, affected or brought in question thereby, and a statement of the object of the action. No other notice of the pendency of the action need be published.
4.042 Service of the Complaint
If the defendant shall appear within ten days after the completion of service by publication, the plaintiff, within five days after such appearance, shall serve the complaint, by copy, on the defendant or the defendant’s attorney. The defendant shall then have at least ten days in which to answer the same.
4.043 Service by Publication; Defendant May Defend; Restitution
If the summons is served by publication, and the defendant receives no actual notification of the action, the defendant shall be permitted to defend upon application to the court before judgment and for sufficient cause; and, except in an action for marriage dissolution, the defendant, in like manner, may be permitted to defend at any time within one year after judgment, on such terms as may be just. If the defense is sustained, and any part of the judgment has been enforced, such restitution shall be made as the court may direct.
4.044 Nonresident Owner of Land Appointing an Agent
If a nonresident person or corporation owning or claiming any interest or lien in or upon lands in the state appoints an agent pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 557.01, service of summons in an action involving such real estate shall be made upon the agent or the principal in accordance with Rule 4.03, and service by publication shall not be made upon the principal.
4.05 Waiving Service of Summons
(a) Requesting a Waiver. An individual, corporation, or association that is subject to service under Rule 4.03 has a duty to avoid unnecessary expenses of serving the summons. A plaintiff may request that the defendant waive service of a summons. The notice and request must:
(1) be in writing and be addressed:
(A) to the individual defendant; or
(B) for a defendant subject to service under Rule 4.03(b)-(e) to the agent authorized to receive service;
(2) be accompanied by a copy of the complaint, two copies of Form 22B or a substantially similar form, and a prepaid means for returning a signed copy of the form;
(3) inform a defendant, using Form 22B or a substantially similar form, of the consequences of waiving and not waiving service;
(4) state the date when the request is sent;
(5) give a defendant 30 days after the request was sent – or 60 days if sent to a defendant outside the United States – to return the waiver; and
(6) be sent by first-class mail or other reliable means.
(b) Failure to Waive. If a defendant located within the United States fails, without good cause, to sign and return a waiver requested by a plaintiff located within the United States, the court must impose on the defendant:
(1) the expenses later incurred in making service; and
(2) the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, of any motion required to collect those service expenses.
(c) Time to Answer a Waiver. A defendant who, before being served with process, timely returns a signed waiver need not serve an answer to the complaint until 60 days after the request was sent to that defendant – or until 90 days after it was sent to that defendant outside the United States.
(d) Results of Filing of a Waiver. When a plaintiff files a waiver of service, proof of service is not required and these rules apply as if a summons and complaint had been served on the date of signing of the waiver.
(e) Jurisdiction and Venue Not Waived. Waiving service of a summons does not waive any objection to personal jurisdiction or to venue.
Service of summons and other process shall be proved by the certificate of the sheriff or other peace officer making it, by the affidavit of any other person making it, by the written admission or acknowledgment of the party served, or if served by publication, by the affidavit of the printer or the printer’s designee. The proof of service in all cases other than by published notice shall state the time, place, and manner of service. Failure to make proof of service shall not affect the validity of the service.
Rule 5. Service and Filing of Pleadings and Other Papers
5.01 Service; When Required; Appearance
Except as otherwise provided in these rules, every order required by its terms to be served, every pleading subsequent to the original complaint unless the court otherwise orders because of numerous defendants, every written motion other than one which may be heard ex parte, and every written notice, appearance, demand, offer of judgment, designation of record on appeal, and similar document shall be served upon each of the parties. No service need be made on parties in default for failure to appear except that pleadings asserting new or additional claims for relief against them shall be served upon them in the manner provided for service of summons in Rule 4. A party appears when that party serves or files any document in the proceeding.
5.02 Service; How Made
(a) Methods of Service. Whenever under these rules service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney, the service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party is ordered by the court. Written admission of service by the party or the party’s attorney shall be sufficient proof of service. If Rule 14 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts or an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court authorizes or requires that service be made by electronic means, service shall be made by compliance with subdivision (b) of this rule. Otherwise, service upon the attorney or upon a party shall be made by delivering a copy to the attorney or party; by mailing a copy to the attorney or party at the attorney’s or party’s last known address; or, if no address is known, by leaving it with the court administrator. Delivery of a copy within this rule means: handing it to the attorney or to the party; or leaving it at the attorney’s or party’s office with a clerk or other person in charge thereof; or, if there is no one in charge, leaving it in a conspicuous place therein; or, if the office is closed or the person to be served has no office, leaving it at the attorney’s or party’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein.
(b) E-Service. Service of all documents after the original complaint may, and where required by these rules shall, be made by electronic means as authorized by Rule 14 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.
(c) Effective Date of Service. Service by mail is complete upon mailing. Service by facsimile is complete upon completion of the facsimile transmission. Service by authorized electronic means using the court’s E-Filing System as defined by Rule 14 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts is complete upon completion of the electronic transmission of the document(s) to the E-Filing System.
(d) Technical Errors; Relief. Upon satisfactory proof that electronic filing or electronic service of a document was not completed, any party may obtain relief in accordance with Rule 14.01(c) of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.
5.03 Service; Numerous Defendants
If the defendants are numerous, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, may order that service of the pleadings of the defendants and replies thereto need not be made as between the defendants and that any cross-claim, counterclaim, or matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense contained therein shall be deemed to be denied or avoided by all other parties and that the filing of any such pleading with the court and service thereof upon the plaintiff constitutes due notice of it to the parties. A copy of every such order shall be served upon the parties in such manner and form as the court directs.
5.04 Filing; Certificate of Service
(a) Deadline for Filing Action. Any action that is not filed with the court within one year of commencement against any party is deemed dismissed with prejudice against all parties unless the parties within that year sign a stipulation to extend the filing period. This paragraph does not apply to family cases governed by Rules 301 to 378 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.
(b) Filing of Documents after the Complaint; Certificate of Service. All documents after the complaint required to be served upon a party, together with a certificate of service, shall be filed with the court within a reasonable time after service, except disclosures under Rule 26, expert disclosures and reports, depositions upon oral examination and interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admission, and answers and responses thereto shall not be filed unless authorized by court order or rule.
(c) Rejection of Filing. The administrator shall not refuse to accept for filing any documents presented for that purpose solely because it is not presented in proper form as required by any court rule or practice. Documents may be rejected for filing if:
(1) tendered without a required filing fee or a correct assigned file number;
(2) tendered to an administrator other than for the court where the action is pending; or
(3) the document constitutes a discovery request or response submitted without the express permission of the court.
5.05 Filing; Facsimile Transmission
Except where filing is required by electronic means by rule of court, any document may be filed with the court by facsimile transmission. Filing shall be deemed complete at the time that the facsimile transmission is received by the court and the filed facsimile shall have the same force and effect as the original. Only facsimile transmission equipment that satisfies the published criteria of the Supreme Court shall be used for filing in accordance with this rule.
Within five days after the court has received the transmission, the party filing the document shall forward the following to the court:
(a) a $25 transmission fee for each 50 pages, or part thereof, of the filing;
(b) any bulky exhibits or attachments; and
(c) the applicable filing fee or fees, if any.
If a document is filed by facsimile, the sender’s original must not be filed but must be maintained in the files of the party transmitting it for filing and made available to the court or any party to the action upon request.
Upon failure to comply with the requirements of this rule, the court in which the action is pending may make such orders as are just, including but not limited to, an order striking pleadings or parts thereof, staying further proceedings until compliance is complete, or dismissing the action, proceeding, or any part thereof.
5.06 Filing Electronically
Where authorized or required by order of the Minnesota Supreme Court or Rule 14 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, documents may, or where required shall, be filed electronically by following the procedures of such order or rule and will be deemed filed in accordance with the provisions of this rule.
A document that is electronically filed is deemed to have been filed by the court administrator on the date and time of its transmittal to the court through the E-Filing System as defined by Rule 14 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, and except for proposed orders, the filing shall be stamped with this date and time if it is subsequently accepted by the court administrator. If the filing is not subsequently accepted by the court administrator for reasons authorized by Rule 5.04, no date stamp shall be applied and the E-Filing System shall notify the filer that the filing was not accepted.