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Filing an Appeal in a Civil Case- FAQs

What does "filing an appeal" mean?

What does "service of the notice of appeal on the adverse party" mean?

How do I file and serve the notice of appeal?

What is the statement of the case?

What is proof of service?

How much does it cost to file the appeal?

Are the parties called the same thing on appeal as in the district court proceedings?

How will I know that my appeal has been received and filed?

What does "filing an appeal" mean?

The term "filing an appeal" is often used to refer to the acts and documents needed to start the appeal process, but more than filing is actually required. Giving your appeal papers to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts is not enough to start the appeal, in most cases.

In civil cases, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure (abbreviated as "Minn. R. Civ. App. P.") describe the documents that you must file with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, file in the district court, and serve on the other parties to start your appeal. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.01 in particular.

Time to Appeal- The court of appeals cannot extend the time to serve and file the appeal papers in a civil case, so you must be sure to do all of this before your time expires, or your appeal will be dismissed.

Clerk of the Appellate Courts: You must file a signed notice of appeal, a copy of the judgment or order appealed from, a signed copy of the statement of the case, and a filing fee of $550.

Other parties to the appeal: You must serve the notice of appeal and statement of the case on the adverse party or parties within the time limits for an appeal. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.01, subd. 1.

District court: You must file a copy of the notice of appeal with the district court administrator. You must also file with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts proof that a copy of a notice of appeal was filed with the district court administrator.  The filing of a copy of the notice of appeal with the district court administrator may be proven by a certificate or affidavit of filing, or by less-formal means, such as filing a copy of the notice of appeal with the court administrator's stamp on it, or filing a copy of the court administrator's register of actions which shows that a copy of the notice of appeal was filed, or a confirmation of filing from the district court's e-filing application.

You, or your attorney if you have one, must sign the notice of appeal. A person who is not an attorney cannot sign or file an appeal on behalf of someone else, except his or her own minor child. The name, address, and telephone number of the person who signed the notice of appeal must be included. You must also state on the notice of appeal the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the attorneys for the other parties to the case, or, if they do not have attorneys, the same information for all of the other parties to the appeal.

Notice of Appeal form- PDF format

What does "service of the notice of appeal on the adverse party" mean?

An "adverse party" is your opponent in the case, and the "respondent" in the appeal. An adverse party is a person or entity (such as a business or corporation) that was involved in the district court or agency proceeding and would be affected or harmed if the court of appeals reverses or modifies the order or judgment being appealed.

"Service" of a document means providing a copy of it to the party or parties required to be served. If a party is represented by an attorney, then you must serve the document on the party's attorney instead.

Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.02. All documents filed with the court of appeals must be served on the adverse parties at or before the time of filing and you must provide proof of service for every document.

Service may be made by a courier or by United States mail. If the parties agree, service may be made by facsimile transmission (fax) or other electronic means. Under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.03, service by United States mail is complete on mailing. That means that you can mail papers on the last day, and they will be considered to be filed on time, so long as you use the correct address and postage.

A party to the appeal may not serve papers in person on another party who does not have an attorney. Someone else over 18 and not a party to the case must deliver the papers for you and complete the proof of service. If a party has an attorney, you may personally serve the attorney.

How do I file and serve the notice of appeal?

You may file the notice of appeal or any other document in the appeal either by personal delivery to the office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts or by United States mail:

Clerk of the Appellate Courts
305 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.01. Filing by facsimile transmission (fax) is not permitted. If you file documents by mail, the filing will be considered timely if the papers were mailed with sufficient postage to the correct address and were deposited in the mail by the deadline, even though they are not received by the clerk's office for another day or two.

Especially if you mail the notice of appeal on the last day of the appeal period, you must be sure to use the correct address and postage. You must file the original, signed notice of appeal and statement of the case (not copies) with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts.

You must file all documents relating to your appeal with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts. You cannot file papers by sending them directly to the judges of the court. You must serve a copy of every document that you file with the Clerk of the Appellate courts on all the other parties to the appeal. Likewise, if another party files a document, they must serve a copy of it on you.

Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.04. Proof of service is required for every document filed with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts.

What is the statement of the case?

The purpose of the statement of the case is to provide the Clerk of the Appellate Courts and the court of appeals with basic information about the case, the types of issues you will be raising, the record on appeal, and briefing. Here is a link to the statement of the case form- PDF format

Under the "jurisdictional statement" section of the form, you must answer questions that will help the court decide whether your appeal is taken from an appealable order or judgment and, if so, whether the appeal is timely. See also Appealable Orders and Judgments and Time to Appeal.

The form requires you to briefly describe what happened in the district court or other proceeding and list specific issues that you will raise on appeal. This should be short. You will have a chance later, when filing your brief, to argue in more detail.

In the "contents of record" section, you will tell the court and the other parties to the appeal whether a transcript (a typed version of the testimony and arguments given in the district court) is needed, or whether the papers filed in the district court, without a transcript, will be the record on appeal.

The form also asks you whether oral argument is requested. If any party does not have an attorney, the case will be decided on the written briefs and the record only, and no party will be allowed oral argument.

Finally, the form asks whether your written argument will be in the form of a formal brief, an informal brief, or a short letter argument supplementing a memorandum that you submitted to the district court. If you did not submit written arguments in the district court, the third option is not available.

What is proof of service?

Every document submitted to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts for filing must be accompanied by proof that the document was served on the other parties to the appeal. Usually, proof of service is (1) a notarized affidavit of service or (2) a certificate of service. Proof of service can also be a written admission by the person who was served that the document was received. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.04.

The person who served the document in person or by mail must complete the affidavit or certificate of service, which must include a description of the documents that were served, the date of service, the method of service (by mail or in person), the name of the person who was served, and the address to which papers served by mail were sent. The affidavit or certificate of service must be signed by the person who served the papers.

  1. Affidavit of service. An affidavit of service must be signed in front of a notary by the person who served the document. The notary must also sign and date the document. Notary services are available at many financial institutions for a small fee. The office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts will notarize an affidavit of service at no charge.
  2. Certificate of service. A certificate of service does not need to be notarized. A certificate of service must contain a statement by the person who signs the certificate that the person declares under the penalty of perjury that everything stated in the document is true and correct. The certificate must show the date of signing and the county and the state where the certificate was signed.

  Affidavit of Service by U.S. Mail Delivery (PDF)
  Affidavit of Service by Personal Delivery (PDF)
  Certificate of Service by U.S. Mail Delivery (PDF)
  Certificate of Service by Personal Delivery (PDF)

You may file one affidavit or certificate listing multiple documents if you serve those documents on the same date and on the same parties.

How much does it cost to file the appeal?

The filing fee for the appeal is $550. If you lose the appeal, the winning party can request that you be required to pay the costs of the appeal.

There are some exceptions to the filing fee requirement. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.01, subd. 3. If the district court judge finds that the person bringing the appeal is indigent (has income that does not exceed 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines), the judge can issue an order to waive the filing fee. The procedure for requesting to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal is explained in Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 109.02. See What if I Can't Afford an Appeal?

Are the parties called the same thing on appeal as in the district court proceedings?

In a civil case in district court, the parties are usually referred to as "plaintiff" (who starts the case) and "defendant" or sometimes "petitioner" (in family law and some other types of cases) and "respondent."

In an appeal of a district court decision, the person bringing the appeal is referred to as the "appellant." In an appeal from a decision by a governmental agency or subdivision (a city, county, or school board), the person bringing the appeal is referred to as the "relator." In all types of appeals, the parties opposing the appeal are called the "respondents."

How will I know that my appeal has been received and filed?

When your appeal papers are received by the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, they are assigned an appellate court file number. The appellate court file number is different from the district court file number. All the papers filed on appeal are available for public inspection, unless there is a rule, statute, or order that limits public access.

When the appeal papers are received and filed, the Clerk of the Appellate Courts sends out a one-page "notice of case filing." This document tells you that the appeal has been filed and includes the appellate file number. You should use that appellate file number on all filings.

If you failed to file some documents required by the rules, or if the documents are incomplete, the problem will be described on the notice of case filing. The notice will direct the appealing party to correct any problems within ten days.