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Failure to Appear at the Hearing

If a party fails to appear at a Conciliation Court hearing, the case could end up being stricken, dismissed, or a default judgment could be granted. For example:

IF... Defendant DOES appear at hearing Defendant does NOT appear at hearing
Plaintiff DOES appear at hearing The case may settle or a trial may be held. The Court could grant a "default" judgment against Defendant for the full amount of the claim.
Plaintiff does NOT appear at hearing Plaintiff's case may be "dismissed on the merits" for failure to appear at hearing. Plaintiff's case may be "stricken." To re-start the case, Plaintiff would have to re-file the claim.

How to Ask for a New Trial

When the Conciliation Court grants a "default" judgment or a judgment of "dismissal" on the merits for failure to appear at the hearing, the party who failed to appear may ask the court to grant a new trial if that party can prove that they had a justifiable reason why they missed the hearing. The reason(s) may include lack of notice, mistake, inadvertence or excusable neglect. See Rule 520 in the MN Rules of General Practice.

Within 20 Days of the Notice of Judgment

To request a new trial within 20 days since the Notice of Judgment was mailed, the party may file an "ex parte" Affidavit and Order to Vacate Judgment and Grant New Trial if the party who failed to appear gives a justifiable reason why they did not appear at the hearing. This may include lack of notice, mistake, inadvertence or excusable neglect as the cause of that party’s failure to appear.

ex parte Affidavit and Order to Vacate and Grant New Trial Court Forms: ex parte Affidavit and Order to Vacate Judgment and Grant New Trial 

After 20 Days of the Notice of Judgment

To request a new trial after 20 days since the Notice of Judgment was mailed, the party must file a "Special Term" Motion with the Conciliation Court. The Special Term Judge will review the Motion and decide whether to vacate the judgment and grant a new trial.

Special Term Motion Instructions & Forms Court Forms: "Special Term" Motion Instructions & Forms

A "Special Term" Motion may also be filed to ask the court to amend (change) the title of a Conciliation Court case, or to ask for permission to pay a judgment into the court.

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