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Civil Filing

15 W. Kellogg Blvd, Room 600
St. Paul MN  55102
Phone: (651) 266-8253
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Filing a Lawsuit

 

How do I sue someone?
How do I file a lawsuit with the court?
Can I file in Ramsey County (jurisdiction)?
Can I file in Conciliation Court instead?
How do I prepare a Summons and Complaint?
I received a Summons and Complaint.  What am I expected to do?
Why is there no case number on the Summons and Complaint?
Can I represent myself?
Will the court appoint an attorney if I can't afford one?

How do I find an attorney to represent me?

Motions, Hearings,
and Trials
How do I file a motion (when I want the judge make a decision about my case)?
How do I request a hearing?
How do I reschedule a hearing?
How do I reschedule a trial?
Subpoenas

How do I subpoena a witness to testify?
How do I get a subpoena?
How do I subpoena documents?
How is the subpoena served?
Can I serve a subpoena myself?

Judgments

How do I pay a judgment?
How do I obtain a Satisfaction of Judgment?

What can I do if I disagree with the outcome of my case?
How do I appeal a judgment?

What happens to the judgment if I file for bankruptcy?
How do I file for bankruptcy?

Fees
Civil Fee Schedule
Is there a fee for filing?
Is there a fee for copies?

Can fees be waived if I can't afford to pay them?
Driver's License
& Vehicle-related
Civil Actions

What can I do if my car was ordered forfeited for a DWI or drugs?
I got a letter saying my license is being suspended.  What can I do to get it back?
I sold my vehicle and the buyer didn't transfer title.  How do I transfer title?
I bought a vehicle but didn't get the title from the seller. How do I get it transferred into my name?

How do I... 

Questions on a larger range of topics
Return to the Main FAQ page


Filing a Lawsuit

How do I sue someone?

Draft a Summons and Complaint and serve it on the other party or parties. 

For more information on Civil Actions, visit the Basics on Civil Actions page of the State Self-Help Center or the Filing a Summons and Complaint page of this site.

How do I file a lawsuit with the Court?

After you have served a copy of the notarized summons and complaint on the Defendant(s), file the original, along with the affidavit(s) of service with the Civil Division of the District Court at the address above.  There are filing fees. Make sure you have made a copy for your own records.  Once your case is filed, it will be assigned to a Judge.  You will receive notices from the Civil Assignment Office regarding scheduling information.  If you are an attorney, you must efile your lawsuit with the District Court.

For more information on Civil Actions, visit the Basics on Civil Actions page of the State Self-Help Center or the Filing a Summons and Complaint page of this site.

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Can I file in Ramsey County (jurisdiction)?

Yes, under certain conditions. You will usually sue the defendant in the county where he/she/they reside, however, this may change depending on the circumstances of each case.  Jurisdiction can be complicated and because each case is unique, you may wish to consult an attorney.  Court personnel cannot give you legal advice as to where you must sue the defendant.

Can I file in Conciliation Court instead?

If the amount is $15,000.00 or less you may file your claim in Conciliation Court.  If the amount is over $15,000.00, file your claim in the Civil Filing Office at the address above.

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How do I prepare and serve a Summons and Complaint?

Advice on preparation of legal documents is beyond what the Court can do for you.  Consult an attorney or a law library.  If you want to proceed without an attorney, the Self-Help Center and the Filing a Summons and Complaint page on this site are good resources to get you started. 

I received a summons and complaint.  What am I expected to do?

Serve the other party with an Answer.  The Summons and Complaint will indicate a deadline for answering (drafting a response).  There may be serious consequences if you disregard the claim.

For more information regarding answering (responding to) a complaint, visit the Answering a Civil Action page of the State Self-Help Center or contact them directly at 651-259-3888.

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Why is there no case number on the Summons and Complaint?

In Minnesota, a civil action is started when the Summons and Complaint are served on the defendant, which can happen before a case is filed with the court and given a file number.

For more information, visit the Starting a Civil Action page of the Self-Help Center.

Can I represent myself?  Will the court appoint an attorney if I can't afford one?

You may represent yourself or retain an attorney.  Attorneys (Public Defenders) are not appointed in Civil Lawsuits.  Representing yourself and not having an attorney will not be an excuse for failure to follow Court Rules and Procedures.

For more information, see the Representing Yourself in Court page of the State Self-Help Center.

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How do I find an attorney to represent me?

Visit the Judicial Branch's online resources for finding your own attorney on the State Self-Help Center web site.


Motions, Hearings, and Trials

How do I file a motion (when I want the judge make a decision about my case)?

If your case has been assigned to a Judge, contact the Judge's case manager for a hearing date.  Filing a motion in a Civil Lawsuit is a complex process.  For information regarding the steps to file a motion, read and follow the instructions on the Filing a Motion page of this web site.  You are responsible for completing every step in the process.

For more information visit the Civil Actions in District Court page of the State Self-Help Center.

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How do I request a hearing?
How do I reschedule a hearing?
How do I reschedule a trial?

If a hearing or trial must be rescheduled, you must contact the Civil Assignment Manager for that case to discuss your options. 

For contact information and instructions, visit the Civil Assignment page on this web site.


Subpoenas

How do I subpoena a witness to testify?

Fill out a subpoena form, arrange for service, and be prepared to produce it in court if requested.  Subpoenas can be complicated and court staff are not allowed to give you legal advice; if you have doubts,  you may wish to consult an attorney

For more information, visit the Requesting a Subpoena page on this web site or the Subpoenas page of the State Self-Help Center.

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How do I get a subpoena?

Request a subpoena form at the location above and pay the subpoena fee.

How do I subpoena documents?

Use the method described above in How do I subpoena a witness to testify?, and fill out the "duces tecum" section of the subpoena detailing what documents must be produced.  You must notify all parties in the case prior to serving a "duces tecum' subpoena.

How is the subpoena served?
Can I serve a subpoena myself?

Subpoenas must be served personally by a disinterested third party (any payment to this party is your responsibility).  You may not serve a subpoena yourself.

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Judgments

How do I pay a judgment?
How do I obtain a Satisfaction of Judgment?

Contact the creditor or creditor's attorney.  Payment is provided directly to the creditor.  The creditor will provide a Satisfaction of Judgment for you to file with the Court.  There is a fee.

What can I do if I disagree with the outcome of my case?
How do I appeal a judgment?

Consult the Court of Appeals site for more information. There are deadlines for appealing a judge's decision to the Court of Appeals.

For more information on appealing a Court decision, visit the Appellate Court Self-Help Center or the Appeals page of the State Self-Help Center.

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What happens to the judgment if I file for bankruptcy?

Nothing, unless you file an Application for Discharge of Judgment with the Court.  You  must fill out the Application for Discharge and serve it upon the creditor/creditor's attorney.  You must wait 20 days before filing the discharge with the Court. 

For instructions, visit the Discharging a Judgment after Bankruptcy page on this site or the Bankruptcy page of the State Self-Help Center.

How do I file for bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is handed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota.

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Fees

Is there a fee for filing?
Is there a fee for copies?

There may be a filing fee related to the action you are considering.  There are also fees for copies.  Refer to the Civil Fee Schedule.

Can fees be waived if I can't afford to pay them?

Yes. If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you may apply for an IFP (In Forma Pauperis) waiver of the filing fee based upon your financial circumstances. These forms  are available online or at any office in the Civil Division. Court staff will review your application and forward it to a judge. The judge will determine if you qualify. 

For more information, visit the Fee Waiver (IFP) page on the State Self-Help Center site.

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Driver's License & Motor Vehicle-related Civil Actions

What can I do if my car was ordered forfeitded due to a DWI or drug charge?

You have the right to sue for return of the vehicle.  If it was seized in Ramsey County you must determine the value of the vehicle or property.  This will determine where you file your claim.  If the vehicle or property is worth $15,000.00 or less, file your claim in Conciliation Court. If the vehicle or property is worth more than $15,000.00, file in the Civil Filing office at the address above.

For more information visit the Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture page on this site.

I got a letter saying my license is being suspended.  What can I do to get it back?

Petition the Court to prevent suspension or to reinstate your license.  Read the letter carefully; there may be specific instruction or deadlines. There is a filing fee.   Submitting a petition to get your license back is a complicated process and you may want to consult an attorney.   If you intend to proceed without an attorney, visit the Representing Yourself in Court page of the Self-Help Center or review the questions on this page regarding Filing a Lawsuit.

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I sold my vehicle and the buyer didn't transfer title. How do I transfer title?

According to the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), transfer the title in person at the office of a motor vehicle deputy registrar.

For locations and instructions, call the DMV office at 651-297-2559To navigate to the locations screen on the DVS website (http://www.mndriveinfo.org/), under Information, select Office Locations.  Under What kind of transactions, select Vehicle:Titles and Renewals.  For instructions on reporting the sale of the vehicle, under Online Services, click more…  Follow the link called Report of Sale..

I bought a vehicle but didn't get the title from the seller. How do I get it transferred into my name?

File a lawsuit to get the court to order transfer of title. 

For instructions, visit the Court Order to Transfer Motor Vehicle Title page on this site.

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Location:

15 W. Kellogg Blvd
Room 600
St. Paul MN  55102

Phone: (651) 266-8253
Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  Frequently Asked Questions

While the Civil Division is composed of many sub-units, including Conciliation, Housing, Probate, and Committment Courts, the main work of the division is to accept Civil lawsuit filings.  Most people who are involved in Civil suits are represented by an attorney, but it is not a requirement.

Please contact our office with questions and requests or navigate to one of the links in the right-hand side of this page.


Important Announcement:

Effective September 1st, 2012, Civil cases will be filed electronically.  Here is a link to the e-filing service. 
Electronic File and Serve