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Civil Court

Civil matters that are accepted by District Court include housing court matters (eviction actions and rent escrow), appeals from conciliation court, other appeals allowed by statute, implied consents, and various civil matters that involve personal injury, property, or monetary disputes.

In addition, court administration also dockets money judgments, issues writs of execution and files satisfactions of judgments for Kandiyohi County judgments.

How to file an Eviction action
How to file for a name change
How to file for a name change of a minor
How to file a discharge of judgments against bankruptcy debtors
How to apply for an harassment order
How to request subpoenas
Interest Rates on State Court Judgments and Arbitration Awards
Procedures for Administrative Registration of Motor Vehicle

The information contained on this site is not intended as legal advice but as a general guide to explain the legal process.

Housing Court - Eviction

An eviction action is a legal process in which a landlord files a request to the court to repossess a property.  The court decides if a tenant should be evicted or if a tenant has a legal right to remain on the property.  To file in Kandiyohi County, the property named in the complaint must be located within the county.

NOTE:  The information contained here is NOT legal advice.  If you do not understand this information, you are advised to consult an attorney.

General reason for filing for eviction:

  • The tenant failed to pay their rent (most common)
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after receiving proper notice
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after the lease expired
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after a Contract for Deed was cancelled
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after a mortgage foreclosure
  • The tenant violated a lease agreement.

An eviction action is to recover real property.  It is NOT intended to recover back rent.  If the amount of rent owing falls within the monetary jurisdiction of Conciliation Court, you may wish to start an action there for rent that is owed.  If the amount exceeds the jurisdictional limit of that court, you must file a District Court civil action for rent owed.

Who can file an Eviction action?

  • The property owner; or
  • An attorney representing the property owner; or
  • Another person representing the owner who is authorized to do so; or
  • A designated agent of the owner with power-of-attorney.

Compliance with Minn. Stat §504B.321
Minn. Stat. §504B.321 requires that you advise the tenant of the following in writing and post in a conspicuous place in the building:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the premises.
  • Name and address of the owner of the premises or their agent.

If you have not complied with this law, an eviction proceeding may be dismissed unless there is proof that the tenant had knowledge of this information for at least 30 days before the complaint was filed with the court.  When filing a eviction complaint, you must indicate on the complaint that you have complied with this law and you must be prepared to prove your statement to the court.

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The Eviction Complaint Form:
Forms may be obtained from court administration or from the Minnesota court forms website www.mncourts.gov, under the Housing, Eviction section.  Terms of the lease must be clearly stated on the complaint form.  To complete the complaint form you must know the following:

  • The approximate date the tenant entered into lease agreement or took occupancy.
  • The complete address of the plaintiff(s) (lessee/owner of the property)
  • Complete address of the defendants(s) (renter of the property)
  • The length and terms of the lease
  • The specific reason(s) for wanting tenant evicted.

The Eviction Summons:
The summons is a written notice that informs the defendant (renter) that a court action has been started and that the court will hear the case on a specific date and time.  It also directs that if the defendant disagrees with the allegations on the complaint or if the defendant wishes to offer an explanation, he/she must appear in court at the date and time specified on the summons.

Once you have completed the complaint and paid the court filing fee, a court deputy will prepare a summons and provide you copies of the summons and the complaint that you will use to serve the involved parties.

Service of the Summons and Complaint:
It is the plaintiff's responsibility to arrange service of the eviction summons and complaint on the defendant(s).  Service can be accomplished in any of the following three ways:

  1. Personal Service:  a sheriff or any other responsible person not named in the eviction complaint may serve the summons and complaint by handing it directly to the defendant.  The summons must be personally served on the defendant at least seven days before the date of the hearing.  You, the plaintiff, cannot serve the papers.  The person who served the defendant(s) must complete an Affidavit of Personal Service form and file it with the court three days prior to the hearing date.
  2. Substitute Service:  A process server can leave a copy of the summons and complaint at the defendant's usual residence with "a person of suitable age and discretion residing therein."  Again, service must be made at least seven days before the date of the hearing.  The person who served the defendant(s) must complete an Affidavit of Service and must file it with the court at least three days prior to the hearing date.
  3. Posting and Mailing:  If the defendant cannot be found or if personal service has been attempted at least twice on two different days (with at least one of the attempts having been made between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.), you may deliver the summons and complaint by way of mailing AND posting.  This method takes more time than personal service.  When mailing and posting, you (or the sheriff or process server) must:
           *  Obtain an "Affidavit of Mailing," from the court forms website, or from the court administrator's office.
           *   Promptly mail a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant(s) at his/her last known address.
           *  Another copy of the summons and complaint must be posted in a conspicuous place on the defendant's premises for at least seven days before the hearing date.  The person who posted the summons and complaint must fill out the "Affidavit of Posting" and file it with the court at least three days prior to the scheduled court hearing.

A SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT CANNOT BE SERVED ON SUNDAYS OR LEGAL HOLIDAYS.

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The Hearing:
You must report to court at the date and time noted on the summons.  Upon arriving at the courthouse, proceed to the courtroom and check in with the court deputy or the bailiff.  During the hearing, the judge will ask the defendant if he/she admits or denies the allegations.  Either the plaintiff or the defendant may request a court trial or jury trial if the matter cannot be resolved at the scheduled hearing.  The law requires the court or jury trial to be held within seven days of the hearing date unless there is an agreement to a later time.  If a trial is requested, a date and time will be provided to all parties before they leave the courthouse.

Upon conclusion of the case, the judge will make a decision and both the plaintiff and the defendant will receive a copy of the decision.  If the court decides in favor of the defendant, the case is over and the defendant may continue to reside on the property.  If the court decides in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant is ordered to vacate the property and refuses to do so, the plaintiff may request a Writ of Recovery.

A Writ of Recovery:
A Writ of Recovery is a legal document that orders the defendant to vacate the premises. The judge may stay the writ for a period of time.  The stayed period of time allows the defendant an opportunity to vacate the property on his or her own.  After the stayed period of time has passed and the defendant has failed to vacate the property as directed by the court, the plaintiff may request the court administrator's office to issue the writ.  The plaintiff must provide the original writ to the Sheriff's Department for service on the defendant.  Once the original writ has been served by the Sheriff on the defendant, the defendant has 24 hours to vacate the premises.  There is a fee for issuance of the writ.  The Sheriff also charges a fee to serve the writ.  If the defendant does not obey the writ, plaintiff should immediately contact the Sheriff's Department.

The information contained on this site is not intended as legal advice but as a general guide to explain the legal process.

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Legal Name Change

Who may apply?
To apply for a name change, each applicant must:

  • Have resided in the State of Minnesota for six months;
  • File the application for name change in the county in which they presently live;
  • Be at least 18 years of age.  (A parent, legal guardian or next of kin may file on behalf of a minor);
  • Pay the civil filing fee or proceed in forma pauperis.

How do I apply?
Complete the following forms:
    a.  Application for Name Change
    b.  Order Granting Name Change (Not available on website)
    c.  Criminal History Record Check Release 

Forms are available at your local court administrator's office or on the court forms website www.mncourts.gov.

If you have any difficulty completing the forms, you should consult an attorney.

Hearing:

  1. Upon filing, the court administrator's office will provide you with a hearing date and time.
  2. Two witnesses who are over the age of 18 years that know you must appear with you in court and testify as to your identity.
  3. If your application is approved at the time of the hearing, the judge will sign the order granting name change.
  4. After the order is signed, you can obtain certified copies of the Order from the court administrator's office for a fee.  Certified copies of this order will be needed to change your personal records.  (See "Notice to Persons Who have Had Their Name Changed.)

Corrections on Birth Certificates:
If the information on a birth certificate is wrong because a mistake was made when the birth certificate was created, DO NOT file an Application for Name Change to have the birth record changed.  Mistakes can be corrected through Kandiyohi County Recorder's office or the Minnesota Department of Health, 717 Delaware Street SE, PO Box 9441, Minneapolis, MN  55440-9441.  Contact them for procedures to amend the birth record.  Please refer to Minnesota State Agency Rules 4601.1000 and 4601.1100 for further information.

Exceptional Circumstances Requiring the Court to Order a Change on a Birth Certificate:
If you think there are exceptional circumstances that make changing the birth certificate necessary, you may specifically ask the judge on your Application for Name Change to order the birth certificate changed.  You may use the "Other" category on the Application to explain these exceptional circumstances.  You should consult an attorney for further information on when changing a birth certificate is appropriate and what information you should include in your Application for Name Change.  If a judge determines a change on the birth record is warranted the judge will include that provision in the final name change order that would direct the Department of Health to amend a birth certificate.

Criminal Record Check:
Minn. Stat. §259.13 requires the court to determine whether a person applying for a name change has been convicted of a felony charge in Minnesota or any other state.  To comply, you must complete a Criminal History Record Check Release form for each party covered by the application.  A criminal history check will be made on all persons listed on the application.  If there has been a felony conviction, both the person whose name is changed and the court shall report the change within 10 days of receiving a copy of the order by mailing a copy of the order changing to:

        Attention:     CRIS Section
                            Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
                            1246 University Avenue
                            St. Paul, MN  55104

Note:  Any record information placed in name change file will be accessible to the public.

Application for Change of Name by a Person who has a Felony Conviction:
An applicant with a felony conviction under Minnesota law or the law of another state or federal jurisdictions shall serve notice regarding their application for a name change on the prosecuting authority that obtained the conviction.  If the conviction is from another state or federal jurisdiction, notice must also be served on the Minnesota Attorney General at 102 State Capitol Building, St. Paul, MN  55155.  Ask the court administrator for the proper method of service.  Proof of service must be filed with the court as part of the name change request.  Prosecuting authorities have 30 days to object to the name change application.

Request for Name Change by an Inmate:
An inmate confined in a correctional facility may request a name change only once, unless the name change would infringe on a constitutional right of an inmate.  Inmates must complete an additional affidavit entitled Inmate Affidavit for Name Change.

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Legal Name Change of a Minor

Who may apply?
To apply for a name change, each applicant must:

  • File the Application for Name Change of a Minor in the county in which the minor presently lives;
  • Be at least 18 years of age to proceed on behalf of the minor;
  • Be the minor's guardian or next of kin; and
  • Pay the civil filing fee or proceed in forma pauperisif the applicant meets established indigency standards.

How do I apply?
Obtain the following forms from the court administrator's office or www.mncourts.gov

    a.  Application for Name Change of a Minor
    b.  Order Granting Name Change (Not available on website)
    c.  Criminal History Record Check Release 

If you have any difficulty completing the forms, you should consult an attorney.

Hearing:

  1. Upon filing, the court administrator's office will provide you with a hearing date and time.
  2. All minor(s) seeking to have their names changed must be present at the court hearing.
  3. Two witnesses who are over the age of 18 years that know the minor(s) must appear in court and testify as to the minors identity.
  4. If your application is approved at the time of the hearing, the judge will sign the order granting name change.
  5. After the Order is signed, you can obtain certified copies of the Order from the court administrator's office for a fee.  Certified copies of this order will be needed to change your personal records.  (See "Notice to Persons Who Have Had Their Name Changed.")

Corrections on Birth Certificates:
If the information on a birth certificate is wrong because a mistake was made when the birth certificate was created, DO NOT file an Application for Name Change to have the birth record changed.  Mistakes can be corrected through Kandiyohi County Recorder's office or the Minnesota Department of Health, 717 Delaware Street SE, PO Box 9441, Minneapolis, MN  55440-9441.  Contact either office for procedures to amend the birth record.  Please refer to Minnesota State Agency Rules 4601.1000 and 4601.1100 for further information.

Exceptional Circumstances Requiring the Court to Order a Change on a Birth Certificate:
If you think there are exceptional circumstances that make changing the birth certificate necessary, you may specifically ask the judge on your Application for Name Change to order the birth certificate changed.  You may use the "Other" category on the Application to explain these exceptional circumstances.  You should consult an attorney for further information on when changing a birth certificate is appropriate and what information you should include in your Application for Name Change.  If a judge determines a change on the birth record is warranted the judge will include that provision in the final name change order that would direct the Department of Health to amend a birth certificate.

Criminal Record Check:
Minn. Stat. §259.13 requires the Court to determine whether any person seeking to change their name has been convicted of a felony in Minnesota or any other state.  To comply, you must complete a Criminal History Check Release form for each party covered by the application.  If you are changing the name of a minor who is 14 years of age or older, both the minor and the applicant must sign the release form.  A criminal history check will be made on any minor over the age of 14 seeking to have their name changed.  If the has been a felony conviction, both the person whose name is changed and the Court shall report the change within 10 days of receiving a copy of the order by mailing a copy of the order to:

        Attention:     CRIS Section
                            Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
                            1246 University Avenue
                            St. Paul, MN  55104

Note:  Any record information placed in name change file will be accessible to the public.

Parental Notice of Name Change of a Minor:
Minn. Stat. §259.10 states that no minor child's name may be changed without both parents having notice of the pending of the application of change of name.  The application must show proof that the non-applicant parent(s) have been notified of the Application for Name Change of a Minor.

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Procedures for discharge of judgments against bankruptcy debtors

A District Court judgment that has been discharged under a bankruptcy proceeding, can be discharged in the District Court as follows:

  1. An Application for Discharge of Judgment form must be completed and filed by the judgment debtor(s) or an interested party.
  2. There is a fee charged by District Court to dischargeeach judgment.
  3. The Application for Discharge of Judgment must be accompanied by:
    a.    either a certified copy of bankruptcy discharge OR a certificate by the Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court indicating that the judgment has been discharged; AND 
    b.    an Affidavit of Service for each involved judgment creditor.
    (Note:  Service is at the expense of the applicant and service must be made in the same manner as the service of a civil action summons as set forth in Minnesota Rules of Procedure.)
  4. The Court Administrator shall discharge each judgment 20 days after service of the Application on all judgment creditors who have not filed objection to the discharge.  (Note:  The Court Administrator is not required to send notice of a District Court discharge of judgment to non-objecting creditors who have been properly served with an Application for Discharge of Judgment in the case.)
  5. In the event of an objection:
    a.    The objecting creditor must serve an objection on the judgment debtor.  (Note:  Service must be made in the same manner as the service of a civil action answer.); and
    b.    Once served with an objection to the application for discharge of District Court judgment, the creditor/debtor/interested party must bring a motion before the court for an order to discharge the judgment.
  6. If a judge signs an order discharging the judgment, the judgment(s) will be discharged.  Upon receipt of a required filing fee from the judgment debtor, the Court Administrator will provide a Certification of Discharge of Judgment(s) to the judgment debtor or other interested party. 

     

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How to apply for a Harassment Restraining Order

Who may apply?
A person who is a victim of harassment may seek a restraining order from the Court.  The parent or guardian of a minor who is the victim of harassment may seek a restraining order on behalf of the minor.  The restraining order prohibits harassment and may be issued against an individual who has engaged in harassment, or against organizations that have sponsored or promoted harassment.

What is Harassment?
Under Minn. Stat. §609.748, harassment is defined as:

  • A single incident of physical or sexual assault.
  • Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between you and the alleged harasser.
  • Targeted residential picketing, which includes:
      **marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons directed solely at a particular residential building in a manner that adversely affects the safety, security or privacy of an occupant of the building, and
      **marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons which prevents an occupant of a residential building from gaining access to or exiting from the property on which the residential building is located.
  • A pattern of attending public events after being notified that one's presence is harassing to another.

Procedures for applying for a Restraining Order

(Forms are available at the Court Administrator's office or on the court forms website http://www.mncourts.gov)

Fill out the Petitioner's Affidavit and Petition for Restraining Order.  The Affidavit should be as complete and as specific as possible.  Dates, times, places, actions and conversations which lead the petitioner to feel harassed should be included in the narrative of the affidavit with the most recent acts listed first.  Our office can provide forms and clerical assistance; check with us if you have any questions. 

The petitioner is responsible for providing the respondent's complete name, address, or information that law enforcement can use to personally serve the respondent.  If you cannot provide the address of the respondent, you may complete an affidavit so indicating and ask the court to publish your application in the local newspaper to accomplish service on the respondent (alleged harasser).  

Filing with the Court
File the affidavit with the court administrator.  A filing fee may be charged.  If you qualify as low income, you may request a waiver by completing an "Affidavit for Proceeding Informa Pauperis" available from the court administrator.

Temporary Restraining Order
The court may issue a restraining order that may be effective for two years.  The petitioner may request a hearing before a District court judge within 45 days of the filing of their petition.

Change of Address
If you move, it is important that the court knows where you are.  Please keep the court administrator informed of any address changes.

Hearing
You must attend the hearing if you want the court to issue a restraining order that could be effective for up to two years.  Be prepared to present your case to the court.  Bring any witnesses and documents to support your case with you to the hearing.

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Important Notice to Respondent

If you are served with an Affidavit and Petition for Harassment Restraining Order, someone is seeking a restraining order against you.  There may already be a restraining order against you.  You may request a hearing before a District court judge within 45 days of being served with a petition.

Review the papers that you received carefully.

Violations: 

If you are aware of the existence of a restraining order and you violate it you may be charged with a misdemeanor, subject to a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and/or fine of $1,000.00.  Repeated violations are gross misdemeanors that may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000.00 fine.  Other violations are felonies that may result in a sentence of imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of $10,000.00.  A person who engages in a pattern of harassing conduct is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to ten years and/or a fine of $20,000.00.  You may be be arrested and taken into custody without warrant if a peace officer has probable cause to believe you are in violations of the restraining order.  Violation of the restraining order also constitutes contempt of court.

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How to request subpoenas

Subpoenas for civil, conciliation and family cases venued in Kandiyohi County may be obtained by mail or in person.  There must be a hearing, trial or deposition scheduled in order for a subpoena to be issued.

You must provide the following if you are requesting the issuance of a subpoena:

  1. payment of the subpoena fee
  2. case file number and the name of the case for which the subpoena is required
  3. attorney or individual requesting the subpoena(s) with a corresponding phone number 
  4. next scheduled hearing/trial date on the case, or
  5. if a deposition is scheduled, a Notice of Taking Deposition and Affidavit of Service must be provided.

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Subpoenas for criminal and traffic cases venued in Kandiyohi County may also be obtained by mail or in person.

If the defendant is self-represented and does not have an attorney, he/she must file a written motion with the court for an order allowing subpoenas to be issued.  The motion must indicate whom the subpoena(s) will be issued to and why.  If the judge approves the issuance, there will be no charge for issuance of the subpoenas.

Issuance of subpoenas does not require court approval if the defendant is represented by counsel.  The following must be provided in these cases:

  1. payment of the subpoena fee
  2. case file number and the name of the case for which the subpoena is required
  3. name and telephone number of the attorney or individual requesting the subpoena(s)
  4. the next scheduled hearing/trial date.

Issuance by Court or by Attorney.  The court administrator shall issue a subpoena, signed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall complete it before service.  An attorney as officer of the court may also issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court where the action is pending.

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Interest Rates on State Court Judgments and Arbitration Awards
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Procedure for Administrative Registration of Motor Vehicle

This procedure can be used in the event a person has been unable to register title to a motor vehicle that they have purchased.  A form entitled Notice of Motion, Motion and Affidavit for Order Directing Issuance of Title to a Motor Vehicle is available from the Court Administrator or at www.mncourts.gov on the Internet.  A civil filing fee will be charged upon filing the motion papers with the court.

The defendant that you (the plaintiff) list on the motion papers must be the recorded owner of the vehicle.

You, the plaintiff, are responsible for serving the notice and motion papers on the defendant by mail at their last known address.  After service is complete, you may file the original motion papers with a completed Affidavit of Service with the District Court.

After the motion papers and the Affidavit of Service are filed with the court, a judge will review the pleadings.  If the judge signs an order directing the Department of Public Safety to issue a title and registration on the vehicle in question, you will be required to provide a certified copy of the order along with required fees to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to have the registration and title issued in your name.  You may request a certified copy of the order from the Court Administrator's office after paying a certified copy fee.


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