Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts
Includes amendments effective January 1, 2006
Provided by the Minnesota Supreme Court Commissioners Office
 
TITLE I.  RULES APPLICABLE TO ALL COURT PROCEEDINGS
 
Rule 1.   Scope of Rules; Modification; Service on Parties; Applicability to Pro Se 
               Parties
1.01        Scope
1.02        Modification
1.03        Service on Parties
1.04        Responsibilities of Parties Appearing Pro Se
Rule 2.   Court Decorum; Conduct of Judges and Lawyers
2.01        Behavior and Ceremony in General
2.02        Role of Judges
2.03        Role of Attorneys
Rule 3.   Ex Parte Orders
3.01        Notice
3.02        Prior Application
Rule 4.   Pictures and Voice Recordings
Rule 5.   Appearance by Out-of-State Lawyers
Rule 6.   Form of Pleadings
6.01        Format
6.02        Paper Size
6.03        Backings Not Allowed
Rule 7.   Proof of Service
Rule 8.   Interpreters
8.01        Statewide Roster
8.02        Appointment
8.03        Disqualification from Proceeding
8.04        General Requirement for Court Interpreter Certification
8.05        Examination for Legal Interpreting Competency
8.06        Application for Certification
8.07        Appeal of Denial of Certification
8.08        Complaints and Investigation
8.09        Expenses and Fees
8.10        Continuing Education Requirements
8.11        Confidentiality of Records
8.12        Interpreters to Assist Jurors
Rule 9.   Frivolous Litigation
9.01        Motion for Order Requiring Security or Imposing Sanctions
9.02        Hearing
9.03        Failure to Furnish Security
9.04        Stay of Proceedings
9.05        Appeal
9.06        Definitions.
9.07        Effect on Other Provisions.

Rule 10.     Tribal Court Orders and Judgments

10.01          When Tribal Court Orders and Judgments Must Be Given Effect

10.02          When Recognition of Tribal Court Orders and Judgments is Discretionary

Rule 11      Submission of Confidential Information

11.01          Definitions

11.02          Restricted Identifiers

11.03          Sealing Financial Source Documents

11.04          Failure to Comply

11.05          Procedures for Requesting Access to Sealed Financial Source Documents

 

Rule 1.  Scope of Rules; Modification; Service on Parties;
Applicability to Pro Se Parties
 
Rule 1.01 Scope.
 
               These rules shall apply in all trial courts of the state.  These rules may be cited as Minn. Gen. R. Prac. ___.
 
Rule 1.02 Modification. 
 
               A judge may modify the application of these rules in any case to prevent manifest injustice.
 
Rule 1.03 Service on Parties. 
 
               When a paper is to be served on a party under these rules, service shall be made on the party’s lawyer if represented, otherwise on the nonrepresented party directly.
 
Rule 1.04 Responsibility of Parties Appearing Pro Se. 
 
               Whenever these rules require that an act be done by a lawyer, the same duty is required of a party appearing pro se. 
 
Cross Reference:  Minn. R. Civ. P. 5.02, 83.
 
Rule 2.  Court Decorum; Conduct of Judges and Lawyers
 
Rule 2.01 Behavior and Ceremony in General 
 
               (a)          Acceptable Behavior.  Dignity and solemnity shall be maintained in the courtroom.  There shall be no unnecessary conversation, loud whispering, newspaper or magazine reading or other distracting activity in the courtroom while court is in session. 
               (b)          Flag.  The flags of the United States and the State of Minnesota shall be displayed on or in close proximity to the bench when court is in session. 
               (c)          Formalities in Opening Court.  At the opening of each court day, the formalities to be observed shall consist of the following:  court personnel shall direct all present to stand, and shall say clearly and distinctly:  Everyone please rise!  The District Court of the ________ Judicial District, County of ________, State of Minnesota is now open.  Judge ________ presiding.  Please be seated.  (Rap gavel or give other signal immediately prior to directing audience to be seated.) 
               At any time thereafter during the day that court is reconvened court personnel shall give warning by gavel or otherwise, and as the judge enters, cause all to stand until the  Judge is seated. 
               (The above rule (to) or (to not) apply to midmorning and midafternoon recesses of the court at the option of the judge.) 
               (d)          The Jury.  Jurors shall take their places in the jury box before the judge enters the courtroom.  Court personnel shall assemble the jurors when court is reconvened. 
               When a jury has been selected and is to be sworn, the presiding judge or clerk shall request everyone in the courtroom to stand.  
               (e)          Court Personnel.  Court personnel shall maintain order as litigants, witnesses and the public assemble in the courtroom, during trial and during recesses.  Court personnel shall direct them to seats and refuse admittance to the courtroom in such trials where the courtroom is occupied to its full seating capacity. 
               (f)           Swearing of Witnesses.  When the witness is sworn, court personnel shall request the witness’ full name, and after being sworn, courteously invite the witness to be seated on the  witness stand. 
               (g)          Manner of Administration of Oath.  Oaths and affirmations shall be administered to jurors and witnesses in a slow, clear, and dignified manner.  Witnesses should stand near the bench, or witness stand as sworn.  The swearing of witnesses should be an impressive ceremony and not a mere formality.  
 
               (Amended effective January 1, 1998.)
 
Rule 2.02 Role of Judges 
 
               (a)          Dignity.  The judge shall be dignified, courteous,  respectful and considerate of the lawyers, the jury and witnesses.  The judge shall wear a robe at all trials and courtroom appearances.  The judge shall at all times treat all lawyers, jury members, and witnesses fairly and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual preference, status with regard to public assistance, disability, or age. 
               (b)          Punctuality.  The judge shall be punctual in convening court, and prompt in the performance of judicial duties, recognizing that the time of litigants, jurors and attorneys is of value and that habitual lack of punctuality on part of a judge justifies dissatisfaction with the administration of the business of the court. 
               (c)          Impartiality.  During the presentation of the case, the judge shall maintain absolute impartiality, and shall neither by word or sign indicate favor to any party to the litigation.  The judge shall be impersonal in addressing the lawyers, litigants and other officers of the court. 
               (d)          Intervention.  The judge should generally refrain from intervening in the examination of witnesses or argument of counsel; however, the court shall intervene upon its own initiative to prevent a miscarriage of justice or obvious error of law. 
               (e)          Decorum in Court.  The judge shall be responsible for order and decorum in the court and shall see to it at all times that parties and witnesses in the case are treated with proper courtesy and respect. 
               (f)           Accurate Record.  The judge shall be in complete charge of the trial at all times and shall see to it that everything is done to obtain a clear and accurate record of the trial.  It is a duty to see that the witnesses testify clearly so that the reporter may obtain a correct record of all proceedings in court.
               (g)          Comment Upon Verdict.  The judge should not comment favorably or adversely upon the verdict of a jury when it may indirectly influence the action of the jury in causes remaining to be tried.  
 
               (Amended effective January 1, 1998.)
 
Rule 2.03 Role of Attorneys 
 
               (a)          Officer of Court.  The lawyer is an officer of the court and should at all times uphold the honor and maintain the dignity of the profession, maintaining at all times a respectful attitude toward the court. 
               (b)          Addressing Court or Jury.  Except when making objections, lawyers should rise and remain standing while addressing the court or the jury.  In addressing the court, the lawyer should refer to the judge as “Your Honor” or “The Court.”  Counsel shall not address or refer to jurors individually or by name or occupation, except during voir dire, and shall never use the first name when addressing a juror in voir dire examination.  During trial, counsel shall not exhibit familiarity with the judge, jurors, witnesses, parties or other counsel, nor address them by use of first names (except for children). 
               (c)          Approaching Bench.  The lawyers should address the court from a position at the counsel table.  If a lawyer finds it necessary to discuss some question out of the hearing of the jury at the bench, the lawyer may so indicate to the court and, if invited, approach the bench for the purpose indicated.  In such an instance, the lawyers should never lean upon the bench nor appear to engage the court in a familiar manner. 
               (d)          Non-Discrimination.  Lawyers shall treat all parties, participants, other lawyers, and court personnel fairly and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual preference, status with regard to public assistance, disability, or age. 
               (e)          Attire.  Lawyers shall appear in court in appropriate courtroom attire.  
 
               (Amended effective January 1, 1998.)
 
Advisory Committee Comment--1997 Amendment
 
                   The majority of this rule was initially derived from the former Rules of Uniform Decorum.  The adoption of these rules in 1991 included these provisions in Part H, Minnesota Civil Trialbook.  They are recodified here to make it clear that the standards for decorum, for lawyers and judges, apply in criminal as well as civil proceedings. 
                   The Task Force on Uniform Local Rules considered the recommendations of the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Gender Fairness, and recommended Rule 2.03(d) be adopted to implement, in part, the recommendations of that body.  See  Minnesota   Supreme Court Task Force for Gender Fairness in the  Courts, 15 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 825 (1989).  The rule specifically incorporated the definition of discriminatory conduct in the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minnesota Statutes, section 363.01, subd. 1(1) (1990).  The Task Force added to the statutory definition of discrimination the category of sexual preference.  
                   The inclusion of these provisions in the rules is intended to establish uniform standards to be followed in most cases.  Nothing in this rule limits the power of the court to modify the rules or their application in a particular case.  See Rule 1.02.  It is not intended that the failure to follow these rules, in itself, would be the subject of claimed error in the conduct of the trial court proceedings in the absence of aggravating circumstances, such as repeated violations or persistent violation after objections by a party or direction from the court.

 

Rule 3.  Ex Parte Orders
 
Rule 3.01 Notice. 
 
               In any application for ex parte relief, the court may require a demonstration or explanation of the efforts made to notify affected parties, or the reasons why such efforts were not  made.  The reasons supporting ex parte relief should be recited in the order.
 
Rule 3.02 Prior Application. 
 
               Before an ex parte order is issued, an affidavit shall be submitted with the application showing:
         (1)          No prior applications for the relief requested or for a similar order have been made; or, 
               (2)          The court and judge to whom the prior application was made; the result of the prior application; and what new facts are presented with the current application. Failure to comply with this rule may result in vacation of any order entered.
 
Task Force Comment--1991 Adoption
 
                   Rule 3.01 is new, although it codifies the practice of the vast majority of judges. 
                   Rule 3.02 is derived from Rule 10 of the Code of Rules for the District Courts.  This rule applies in all trial court proceedings, including criminal actions.  The Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure joins the Task Force in recommending that this rule apply in all trial court proceedings. 
                   The review of the efforts made to provide notice is an integral part of permitting ex parte relief to be granted.  The rule does not specify what showing must be made and does not state how it is to be made because the Task Force recognizes that a wide variety of circumstances apply to the seeking and obtaining of ex parte orders.  In some circumstances, there may be proper reasons to justify ex parte relief even if notice could be given, and in those limited instances, a showing of those reasons should be made and reviewed by the court.  The more common situation will involve description of the efforts made to give notice.  The court may require the information in written or affidavit form, may take oral testimony, or may base the decision on the statements of counsel, either in person or by telephone.  The Task Force also believes that if notice to affected parties is deemed unnecessary, the order should state the facts supporting ex parte relief without notice.
 
Rule 4.  Pictures and Voice Recordings
 
               No pictures or voice recordings, except the recording made as the official court record, shall be taken in any courtroom, area of a courthouse where courtrooms are located, or other area designated by order of the chief judge made available in the office of the court administrator in the county, during a trial or hearing of any case or special proceeding incident to a trial or hearing, or in connection with any grand jury proceedings.  This rule shall be superseded by specific rules of the Minnesota Supreme Court relating to use of cameras in the courtroom or use of videotaped recording of proceedings to create the official recording of the case.  
 
               (Amended effective January 1, 1994.)
 
Advisory Committee Comment--1994 Amendments
 
                   This rule is derived from the current local rules of three districts. 
                   It appears that this rule is desired by the benches of three districts and it may be useful to have an articulated standard for the guidance of lawyers, litigants, the press, and the public. 
                   The Supreme Court has adopted rules allowing cameras in the courtrooms in limited circumstances, and it is inappropriate to have a written rule that does not accurately state the standards which lawyers are expected to follow.  See In re Modification of  Canon 3A(7) of the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct, No.  C7-81-300 (Minn. Sup. Ct. May 22, 1989).  The court has ordered an experimental program for videotaped recording of proceedings for the official record in the Third, Fifth and Seventh Judicial Districts.  In re Videotaped Records of Court Proceedings in the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Judicial Districts, No. C4-89-2099 (Minn. Sup. Ct. Nov. 17, 1989) (order).  The proposed local rule is intended to allow the local courts to comply with the broader provisions of the Supreme Court Orders, but to prevent unauthorized use of cameras in the courthouse where there is no right to access with cameras. 
                   This is amended in 1994 to make it unnecessary for local courthouses to obtain Supreme Court approval of formal local rules designating areas of courthouses off limits to cameras.  The reason for allowing local determination of this issue is the great architectural diversity of Minnesota courthouses and the recognition that the need for changes in the camera-free areas as space use changes, construction or remodeling, or other changes occur.  There is no need for formal rulemaking nor Supreme Court approval of these rules.  Any order designating areas of a courthouse pursuant to this rule should be posted or available in the court administrator’s office.  There is no reason for publication of this order so long as it is readily available to members of the press or others interested in this issue.  
 
Rule 5.  Appearance by Out-of-State Lawyers
 
               Lawyers duly admitted to practice in the trial courts of any other jurisdiction may appear in any of the courts of this state provided (a) the pleadings are also signed by a lawyer duly admitted to practice in the State of Minnesota, and (b) such lawyer admitted in Minnesota is also present before the court, in chambers or in the courtroom or participates by telephone in any hearing conducted by telephone.  In a subsequent appearance in the same action the out-of-state lawyer may, in the discretion of the court, conduct the proceedings without the presence of Minnesota counsel.  Any lawyer appearing pursuant to this rule shall be subject to the disciplinary rules and regulations governing Minnesota lawyers and by applying to appear or appearing in any action shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Minnesota courts.
 
Task Force Comment--1991 Adoption
 
                   This rule is derived from 3rd Dist. R. 1.  This rule is intended to supplement Minnesota Statutes, section 481.02 (1990) and would supersede the statute to the extent the rule may be inconsistent with it.  This rule recognizes and preserves the power and responsibility of the court to determine the proper role to be played by lawyers not admitted to practice in Minnesota.
 
Rule 6.  Form of Pleadings
 
Rule 6.01 Format 
 
               All pleadings or other papers required to be filed shall be double spaced and legibly handwritten, typewritten, or printed on one side on plain unglazed paper of good texture.  Every page shall have a top margin of not less than one inch, free from all typewritten, printed, or other written matter.  
 
Civil Rules Advisory Committee Comment—2006 Amendment
 
Rule 6.01 is amended to delete a sentence dealing with filing by facsimile.  The former provision is, in effect, superseded by Minn. R. Civ. P. 5.05, as amended effective January 1, 2006.
 
 
Rule 6.02 Paper Size 
 
               All papers served or filed by any party shall be on standard size 8-1/2 X 11 inch paper.
 
Rule 6.03 Backings Not Allowed 
 
               No pleading, motion, order, or other paper offered to the court administrator for filing shall be backed or otherwise enclosed in a covering.  Any papers that cannot be attached by a single staple in the upper lefthand corner shall be clipped or tied by an alternate means at the upper lefthand corner.  
               (Former Rule 102 adopted effective January 1, 1992; renumbered effective January 1, 1993.) 
 
Cross Reference:  Minn. R. Civ. P. 5.05, 10.
 
Advisory Committee Comment--1992 Amendments
 
                   This rule is based on 4th Dist. R. 1.01 (a) & (b), with changes.  
                   Although the rule permits the filing of handwritten documents, the clearly preferred practice in Minnesota is for typewritten documents.  Similarly, commercially printed papers are rarely, if ever, used in Minnesota trial court practice, and the use of printed briefs in appellate practice is discouraged.
                    All courts in Minnesota converted to use of “letter size” paper in 1982.  See Order Mandating 8-1/2 x 11 Inch Size Paper For All Filings in All Courts in the State, Minn. Sup. Ct., Apr. 16, 1982 (no current file number assigned), reprinted in Minn. Rules of Ct. 665 (West pamph. ed. 1992).  Papers filed in the appellate courts must also be on letter-sized paper.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 132.01, subdivision 1.  This rule simply reiterates the requirement for the trial courts. 
                                
Rule 7.  Proof of Service
 
               When service has been made before filing, proofs of service shall be affixed to all papers so that the identity of the instrument is not obscured.  If a document is filed before service, proof of service shall be filed within 10 days after service is made.  
 
               (Former Rule 103 adopted effective January 1, 1992; renumbered effective January 1, 1993; amended effective January 1, 1996.) 
 
Cross Reference:  Minn. R. Civ. P. 4.06, 5.04.
 
Advisory Committee Comments--1995 Amendments
 
                   This rule derived from Rule 13 of the Code of Rules for the District Courts. The second sentence is new, drafted to provide for filing of documents where service is to be made after filing.  The Committee recommends amendment of the rule to require a specific rather than subjective standard for the filing of proof of service.  Although the Committee heard requests to change the rule to require that all documents be filed with proof of service attached, the Committee believes that such a rule is neither helpful nor necessary.  Such a rule would make it difficult to serve and file documents at the same time, and would probably result in greater problems relating to untimely service and filing.  Nonetheless, there appear to be a number of situations where proof of service is not filed for a substantial period of time, resulting in confusion in the courts.  The rule is accordingly amended to change the requirement from filingpromptly” after service to “within ten days” after service.  The Committee believes this period is more than sufficient for filing a proof of service.  The Committee is also sensitive to a potential problem that would arise with a requirement that proof of service accompany documents at the time of filing.  The Committee continues to believe that documents, in whatever form, should not be rejected for filing by the court administrators.  Rather, documents should be filed as submitted and the court should deal with any deficiencies or irregularities in the documents in an orderly way, having in mind the mandate of Rule 1 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure that the rules be interpreted to advance the “just, speedy, and inexpensive” determination of every action.
 
Rule 8.  Interpreters
 

Definitions

     1. “Review Panel” means the Minnesota Court Interpreter Review Panel, which is comprised of two district court judges and one court administrator appointed by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

     2. “Coordinator” means the Court Interpreter Program Coordinator assigned to the State Court Administrator’s Office.

     3. “Good Character” means traits that are relevant to and have a rational connection with the present fitness or capacity of an applicant to provide interpretation services in court proceedings.

     4. “Roster” means the Minnesota statewide roster of court interpreters.

 
(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)
 
Rule 8.01 Statewide Roster 
 
               The State Court Administrator shall maintain and publish annually a statewide roster of certified and non-certified interpreters which shall include:
               (a)          Certified Court Interpreters:  To be included on the Statewide Roster, certified court interpreters must have satisfied all certification requirements pursuant to Rule 8.04.
               (b)          Non-certified Foreign Language Court Interpreters:  To be included on the Statewide Roster, foreign language court interpreters must have:  (1) completed the interpreter orientation program sponsored by the State Court Administrator; (2) filed with the State Court Administrator a written affidavit agreeing to be bound by the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Minnesota State Court System as the same may be amended from time to time; and (3) received a passing score on a written ethics examination administered by the State Court Administrator. 
               (c)          Non-certified Sign Language Court Interpreters:  To be included on the Statewide Roster, non-certified sign language court interpreters must
(1)                    have satisfied the three requirements set forth about in Rule 8.01(b);
(2)                    be a member in good standing with the Registry of Interpreters for the       Def (RID) or with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD); and
(3)                    possess
(i)                             both a valid Certificate of Transliteration (CT) and a               Certificate of Interpretation from RID; or
(ii)                          a valid Comprehensive Skills Certificate (CSC) from RID or
(iii)                        a valid Level 5 certificate from NAD; or
(iv)                        a valid Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) or Certified Deaf Interpreter Provisional (CDIP) certificate from RID; or
(v)                           another equivalent valid certification approved by the State Court Administrator.
 
(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1,               2006.)
 
Advisory Committee Comment 1997 Amendment
 
                   It is the policy of the state to provide interpreters to litigants and witnesses in civil and criminal proceedings who are handicapped in communication.  Minnesota Statutes, sections 611.30 - .32 (1996); Minn. R. Crim. P. 5.01, 15.01, 15.03, 15.11, 21.01, 26.03, 27.04, subd. 2; Minnesota Statutes, section 546.44, subdivision 3 (1996); see also 42 U.S.C. section 12101; 28 C.F.R. Part 35, section 130 (prohibiting discrimination in public services on basis of disability). 
                   To effectuate that policy, the Minnesota Supreme Court has initiated a statewide orientation program of training for court interpreters and promulgated the Rules on Certification of Court Interpreters.  Pursuant to Rule 8.01 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, the State Court Administrator has established a statewide roster of court interpreters who have completed the orientation program on the Minnesota court system and court interpreting and who have filed an affidavit attesting that they understand and agree to comply with the Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters adopted by the Minnesota Supreme Court on September 18, 1995.  The creation of the roster is the first step in a process that is being undertaken to ensure the competence of court interpreters.  To be listed on the roster, a non-certified court interpreter must attend an orientation course provided or approved by the State Court Administrator.  The purpose of the orientation is to provide interpreters with information regarding the Code of Professional Responsibility, the role of interpreters in our courts, skills required of court interpreters, the legal process, and legal terminology.  Merely being listed on the roster does not certify or otherwise guarantee an interpreter’s competence. 
                   In 1997, two key changes were made to this rule.  First, interpreters are now required to receive a passing score on the ethics examination before they are eligible to be listed on the Statewide Roster.  This change was implemented to ensure that court interpreters on the Statewide Roster have a demonstrated knowledge of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 
                   Second, to be eligible to be listed on the Statewide Roster, non-certified sign language court interpreters are required to possess certificates from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), which demonstrate that the interpreter has minimum competency skills in sign language.  This change was recommended by the Advisory Committee because of reports to the Committee that courts were hiring sign language interpreters who completed the orientation training, but who were not certified by RID.  This practice was troubling because prior to the promulgation of Rule 8, courts generally adopted the practice of using only RID certified sign language interpreters to ensure a minimum level of competency.  Unlike most spoken language interpreting fields, the field of sign language interpreting is well established with nationally developed standards for evaluation and certification of sign language interpreters.  Because of the long history of RID, its certification program, the availability of RID certified sign language interpreters in Minnesota and the recent incidents when courts have deviated from their general practice of appointing RID certified sign language interpreters, the Advisory Committee determined that it is appropriate and necessary to amend Rule 8 to maintain the current levels of professionalism and competency among non-certified sign language court interpreters. 
 
Rule 8.02 Appointment 
 
               (a)          Use of Certified Court Interpreter.  Whenever an interpreter is required to be appointed by the court, the court shall appoint only a certified court interpreter who is listed on the statewide roster of interpreters established by the State Court Administrator under Rule 8.01, except as provided in Rule 8.02(b) and (c).  A certified court interpreter shall be presumed competent to interpret in all court proceedings.  The court may, at any time, make further inquiry into the appointment of a particular certified court interpreter.  Objections made by a party regarding special circumstances which render the certified court interpreter unqualified to interpret in the proceeding must be made in a timely manner. 
               (b)          Use of Non-Certified Court Interpreter on Statewide Roster.  If the court has made diligent efforts to obtain a certified court interpreter as required by Rule 8.02(a) and found none to be available, the court shall appoint a non-certified court interpreter who is otherwise competent and is listed on the Statewide Roster established by the State Court Administrator under Rule 8.01.  In determining whether a non-certified court interpreter is competent, the court shall apply the screening standards developed by the State Court Administrator. 
               (c)          Use of Non-Certified Court Interpreter not on the Statewide Roster.  Only after the court has exhausted the requirements of Rule 8.02(a) and (b) may the court appoint a non-certified interpreter who is not listed on the Statewide Roster and who is otherwise competent.  In determining whether a non-certified interpreter is competent, the court shall apply the screening standards developed by the State Court Administrator.  In no event shall the court appoint a non-certified sign language interpreter who does not, at a minimum possess both a Certificate of Transliteration and a Certificate of Interpretation from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or an equivalent certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or another organization that is approved by the State Court Administrator.  
 
               (Added effective January 1, 1996; amended effective January 1, 1998.)
 
Advisory Committee Comment 1997 Amendment
 
                   Rule 8.02(a) requires that courts use certified court interpreters.  If certified court interpreters are not available or cannot be located, courts should next use only interpreters listed on the statewide roster maintained by the State Court Administrator.  Rule 8.02 recognizes, however, that in rare circumstances it will not be possible to appoint an interpreter from the statewide roster.  Non-roster interpreters and telephone interpreting services, such at AT & T’s Language Lines Service, should be used only as a last resort because of the limitations of such services including the lack of a minimum orientation to the Minnesota Court System and to the requirements of court interpreting.  For a detailed discussion of the issues, see Court Interpretation:  Model Guides for Policy and Practice in the State Courts, chapter 8 (National Center for State Courts, 1995), a copy of which is available from the State Court Administrator’s Office.  To avoid unreasonable objections to a certified court interpreter in a proceeding, the rule makes a presumption that the certified court interpreter is competent.  However, the rule also recognizes that there are situations when an interpreter may be competent to interpret, but not qualified.  Examples of such situations include when an interpreter has a conflict of interest or the user of the interpreter services has unique demands, such as services tailored to a person with minimal language skills, that the interpreter is not as qualified to meet. 
                   Rule 8.02(b) requires that courts make “diligent” efforts to locate a certified court interpreter before appointing a non-certified court interpreter.  Because the certification process is still in an early stage and because it is important to ensure that courts use competent interpreters, courts should seek the services of certified court interpreters who are located outside the court’s judicial district if none can be found within its own district.  In addition, courts should consider modifying the schedule for a matter if there is difficulty locating a certified interpreter for a particular time.  Because the certification program being implemented by the State Court Administrator is still new, interpreters are being certified in only certain languages at this time.  The Advisory Committee recognizes that it may be some time before certification is provided for all languages used in our courts.  However, the committee feels strongly that for those languages for which certification has been issued, the courts must utilize certified court interpreters to ensure that its interpreters are qualified.  If a court uses non-certified court interpreters, court administrators should administer the screening standards prior to hiring an interpreter.  However, the presiding judge is still primarily responsible for ensuring the competence and qualifications of the interpreter.  A model voir dire to determine the competence and qualifications of an interpreter is set forth in the State Court Administrator’s Best Practices Manual on Court Interpreters. 
 
Rule 8.03 Disqualification from Proceeding 
 
               A judge may disqualify a court interpreter from a proceeding for good cause.  Good cause for disqualification includes, but is not limited to, an interpreter who engages in the following conduct: 
               (a) Knowingly and willfully making a false interpretation while serving in a proceeding; 
               (b) Knowingly and willfully disclosing confidential or privileged information obtained while serving in an official capacity; 
               (c) Failing to follow applicable laws, rules of court, or the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Minnesota State Court System.  
 
               (Added effective January 1, 1996; amended effective January 1, 1998.)
 
Advisory Committee Comment 1995
 
                   Interpreters must take an oath or affirmation to make a true interpretation to the best of their ability, to the person handicapped in communication and to officials.  Minnesota Statutes, sections 546.44, subdivision 2; 611.33, subdivision 2 (1994).  Interpreters cannot disclose privileged information without consent.  Minnesota Statutes, sections 546.44, subdivision 4; 611.33, subdivision 4 (1994).  These and other requirements are also addressed in the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Minnesota State Court System. 

            

 

Rule 8.04 General Requirement for Court Interpreter Certification

     (a) Eligibility for Certification.  An applicant is eligible for certification upon establishing to the satisfaction of the State Court Administrator:

 

1. age of at least 18 years;

 

2. good character and fitness;

 

3. inclusion on the Statewide Roster of court interpreters maintained by the State Court Administrator’s office in accordance with Rule 8 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts;

4. passing score on legal interpreting competency examination administered or approved by the State Court Administrator’s Office; and

5. passing score on a written ethics examination administered by the State Court Administrator’s Office.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006)
 

Rule 8.05 Examination for Legal Interpreting Competency

 

            (a)  Examination.  Examinations for legal interpreting competency in specific  languages shall be administered at such times and places as the Coordinator may designate.

1. Scope of Examination.  Applicants for certification in interpreting in a spoken or sign language may be tested on any combination of the following:

a. Sight Interpretation;

b. Consecutive Interpretation;

c. Simultaneous Interpretation; and

d. Transliteration (when applicable).

2. Denial of Opportunity to Test.  An applicant may be denied permission to take an examination if an application, together with the application fee, is not complete and filed in a timely manner.

3. Results of Examination.  The results of the examination, which may include scores, shall be released to examinees by regular mail to the address listed in the Coordinator’s files.  Statistical information relating to the examinations, applicants, and the work of the State Court Administrator’s Office may be released at the discretion of the State Court Administrator’s Office.

4. Testing Accommodations.  A qualified applicant with a disability who requires reasonable accommodations must submit a written request to the Coordinator at the same time the application is filed.  The Coordinator will consider timely requests and advise the applicant of what, if any, reasonable accommodations will be provided.  The Coordinator may request additional information, including medical evidence, from the applicant prior to providing accommodations to the applicant.

 5. Confidentiality.  Except as otherwise provided in Rule 8.05(a)3, all information relating to the examinations is confidential.  The State Court Administrator’s Office shall take steps to ensure the security and confidentiality of all examination information.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)

 

 

Drafting Committee Comment‑‑1996

 

            The Minnesota Supreme Court is one of the founding states of the State Court Interpreter Certification Consortium.  It is the function of the Consortium to develop tests for court interpretation in various languages and administration standards, and to provide testing materials to individual states and jurisdictions.  The Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office will in most circumstances utilize tests and standards established by or in conjunction with the Consortium.

 

 

Rule 8.06 Application for Certification

 

     (a)  Complete Application.  An applicant desiring legal interpreting certification in a particular language shall file with the Coordinator a complete and notarized application on a form prepared by the State Court Administrator’s Office and pay the application fee established by the State Court Administrator’s Office.

     (b)  Certification Standards.

1. Screening.  The State Court Administrator’s Office shall administer character, fitness and competency screening.  It shall perform its duties in a manner that ensures the protection of the public by recommending for certification only those who qualify.  A court interpreter should be one whose record of conduct justifies the trust of the courts, witnesses, jurors, attorneys, parties, and others with respect to the official duties owed to them.  A record manifesting significant deficiency in the honesty, trustworthiness, diligence or reliability of an applicant may constitute a basis for denial of certification.

2. Relevant Conduct.  The revelation or discovery of any of the following should be treated as cause for further inquiry before the State Court Administrator’s Office decides whether the applicant possesses the character and fitness to qualify for certification to interpret in the courtroom:

a. conviction of a crime which resulted in a sentence or a suspended sentence;

b. misconduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

c. revocation or suspension of certification as an interpreter, or for any other position or license for which a character check was performed in this state or in other jurisdictions; and

d. acts that indicate abuse of or disrespect for the judicial process.

3. Evaluation of Character and Fitness.  The State Court Administrator’s Office shall determine whether the present character and fitness of an applicant qualifies the applicant for certification.  In making this determination, the following factors should be considered in assigning weight and significance to prior conduct:

a. the applicant’s age at the time of the conduct;

b. the recency of the conduct;

c. the reliability of the information concerning the conduct;

d. the seriousness of the conduct;

e. the factors underlying the conduct;

f. the cumulative effect of the conduct;

g. the evidence of rehabilitation;

h. the applicant’s positive social contributions since the conduct;

i.  the applicant’s candor in the certification process; and

j.  the materiality of any admissions or misrepresentations.

     (c)  Notification of Application for Certification.   The Coordinator shall notify applicants in writing and by regular mail of the decision on the applicant's request for certification.

     (d)  Information Disclosure.

1. Application File.  An applicant may review the contents of his or her application file, except for the work product of the Coordinator and the State Court Administrator’s Office, at such times and under such conditions as the State Court Administrator’s Office may provide.

2. Investigation.  Information may be released to appropriate agencies for the purpose of obtaining information related to the applicant’s character and competency.

3. Confidentiality.

a. Investigative Data:  Information obtained by the Coordinator and the State Court Administrator’s Office during the course of their investigation is confidential and may not be released to anyone absent a court order.  The court shall consider whether the benefit to the person requesting the release of the investigative data outweighs the harm to the public, the agency or any person identified in the data.

b. Applicant File Data:  All information contained in the files of applicants for court interpreter certification in the State Court Administrator’s Office except as otherwise provided in Rule 8.06(d)3 of these rules is confidential and will not be released to anyone except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction or the consent of the applicant.

c. Examination Information:  Examination Information shall be available as provided in Rule 8.05(a).

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)
 

 

 

Drafting Committee Comment‑‑1996

 

            The primary purpose of character, fitness and competency screening is to ensure equal access to justice for people with limited English proficiency, or speech or hearing impairments.  Such screening also ensures the efficient and effective operation of our judicial system.  Our judicial system is adequately protected by a system that evaluates the character, fitness and competency of an interpreter as those elements relate to interpreting in the courtroom.  The public interest requires that all participants in the courtroom be secure in their expectation that those who are certified interpreters are competent to render such services and are worthy of the trust that the courts, witnesses, jurors, attorneys and parties may reasonably place in the certified interpreter.

 

Rule 8.07  Appeal of Denial of Certification

 

     (a) Appeal of Certification Denial.  Any applicant who is denied certification by the State Court Administrator’s Office may appeal to the Review Panel by filing a petition for review with the Review Panel within twenty (20) days of receipt by the applicant of a final decision by the State Court Administrator’s Office.

     The petition shall briefly state the facts that form the basis for the complaint and the applicant’s reasons for believing that review is warranted.  A copy of the petition must be provided to the State Court Administrator’s Office.

    (b) Response From State Court Administrator’s Office.   The State Court Administrator’s Office shall submit to the Review Panel a response to the applicant’s appeal of the denial of certification within a reasonable time after receipt of a copy of the applicant’s petition for review.  The response should set forth the reasons for the denial of certification.

   (c) Decision by the Minnesota Court Interpreter Review Panel.   The Review Panel shall give such directions, hold such hearings and make such order as it may deem appropriate.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)

 

Rule 8.08 Complaints and Investigation

 

(a)  Procedure.  Complaints of alleged unprofessional, illegal or unethical conduct by any certified or non-certified court interpreter on the Minnesota Court Interpreter Roster shall be governed by procedures established by the State Court Administrator’s Office.  These procedures shall include the following:

1.                  a description of the types of actions which may be grounds for discipline;

2.                  a description of the types of sanctions available;

3.                  a procedure by which a person can file a complaint against an interpreter;

4.                  a procedure for the investigation of complaints;

5.                  a procedure for the review of complaints;

6.                  a hearing procedure for cases involving more severe sanctions; and

7.                  an appeal process when applicable.

 (b) Revocation or Suspension of Certification or Roster Status.  The certification or roster status of a certified or non-certified interpreter on the Minnesota Court Interpreter Roster is subject to suspension or revocation by the State Court Administrator’s Office in accordance with the procedures established by the State Court Administrator’s Office.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)

 

Drafting committee comment‑‑1996

 

            The complaint procedure is not intended as a means for appealing claims of error by a court interpreter.  The complaint procedure is available to address unprofessional or unethical conduct by certified and non-certified court interpreters.  Consequently, in the absence of fraud, corrupt motive, bad faith, or pattern of established interpreter error, the Coordinator is not likely to initiate an investigation of a complaint of an error of a court interpreter.

            It is contemplated that the power to revoke or suspend interpreter certification or roster status will be exercised sparingly and when exercised, consideration will be given to the appropriate procedure and the giving of notice and an opportunity to be heard if such process is due the interpreter.

 

Rule 8.09 Expenses and Fees

 

     The expenses for administering the certification requirements, including the complaint procedures, may be paid from initial application, examination fees and renewal fees.  The fees shall be set by the State Court Administrator’s Office and may be revised as necessary with the approval of the Supreme Court.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)

 

Rule 8.10 Continuing Education Requirements

 

     The State Court Administrator’s Office may establish continuing education requirements for certified and non-certified interpreters on the Minnesota Court Interpreter Roster with the approval of the Supreme Court.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)

 

Rule 8.11 Confidentiality of Records

 

     Subject to exceptions in rules 8.01, 8.04(a)(3), 8.05(a)(3), 8.05(a)(5), and 8.06(d) of these rules, and the Enforcement Procedures for the Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters, all information in the files of the Coordinator, the Review Panel, and the State Court Administrator relating to court interpreters shall be confidential and shall not be released to anyone other than the Supreme Court except upon order of the Supreme Court.

 

(Incorporated into General Rules of Practice, as amended, effective January 1, 2006.)

 

Drafting Committee Comment‑‑2000

 

            This rule is being added in 2000 to provide a consistent and necessary level of confidentiality for information maintained in the court interpreter orientation and certification process, including for example testing materials, orientation and registration information, and non‑roster contact information. Both certified and non‑certified interpreters included on the statewide roster under rule 8.01 must attend orientation training and pass an ethics exam, but the confidentiality provisions in rules 8.05 and 8.06 are limited to those seeking formal certification. Rule 8.11 ensures consistent confidentiality for all testing, orientation, registration and non‑roster contact information, and is consistent with the level of accessibility accorded similar information in the attorney licensing process.

 

Rule 8.12 Interpreters to Assist Jurors      

 

Qualified interpreters appointed by the court for any juror with a sensory disability may be present in the jury room to interpret while the jury is deliberating and voting.

 

(Added effective January 1, 2006.)

 
Advisory Committee Comment – 2006 Amendment

 

Rule 8.12 is intended to provide guidance on the role of interpreters appointed for the benefit of jurors with a sensory disability.  The requirement that such interpreters be allowed to join the juror in the jury room is logical and necessary to permit the juror to communicate in deliberations.  In this situation the interpreter should be given an oath to follow other constraints placed on jurors (e.g., not to discuss the case, not to read or listen to media accounts of the trial, etc.) and also that the interpreter will participate only in interpreting the statements of others, and will not become an additional juror.  An interpreter in this situation should also not be allowed or required to testify as to any aspect of the jury’s deliberations in any context a juror would not be allowed or required to testify.

This amendment is drawn from the language of Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.03, subd. 16.

The rule is limited by its terms to interpreters appointed for the benefit of jurors with a sensory disability only because that is the only condition generally resulting in the appointment for jurors.  In other, unusual, situations where such an interpreter is appointed, these procedures would presumably apply as well.

 

Rule 9.  Frivolous Litigation
 
Rule 9.01 Motion for Order Requiring Security or Imposing Sanctions 
 
               Relief under this rule is available in any action or proceeding pending in any court of this state, at any time until final judgment is entered.  Upon the motion of any party or on its own initiative and after notice and hearing, the court may, subject to the conditions stated in Rules 9.01 to 9.07, enter an order:  (a) requiring the furnishing of security by a frivolous litigant who has requested relief in the form of a claim, or (b) imposing preconditions on a frivolous litigant’s service or filing of any new claims, motions or requests.  All motions under this rule shall be made separately from other motions or requests, and shall be served as provided in the Rules of Civil Procedure, but shall not be filed with or presented to the court unless, within 21 days after service of the motion (or such other period as the court may prescribe), the challenged claim, motion, or request is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected.  
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Rule 9.02 Hearing 
 
               (a)          Evidence.  At the hearing upon such motion the court shall consider such evidence, written or oral, by witnesses or affidavit, as may be material to the ground of the motion. 
               (b)          Factors.  In determining whether to require security or to impose sanctions, the court shall consider the following factors:  
     (1)          the frequency and number of claims pursued by the frivolous litigant with an adverse result; 
   (2) whether there is a reasonable probability that the frivolous litigant will prevail on the claim, motion, or request; 
   (3) whether the claim, motion, or request was made for purposes of harassment, delay, or vexatiousness, or otherwise in bad faith; 
   (4) injury incurred by other litigants prevailing against the frivolous litigant and to the efficient administration of justice as a result of the claim, motion, or request in question; 
   (5) effectiveness of prior sanctions in deterring the frivolous litigant from pursuing frivolous claims; 
   (6) the likelihood that requiring security or imposing sanctions will ensure adequate safeguards and provide means to compensate the adverse party; 
   (7) whether less severe sanctions will sufficiently protect the rights of other litigants, the public, or the courts.
               The court may consider any other factors relevant to the determination of whether to require security or impose sanctions.
               (c)          Findings.  If the court determines that a party is a frivolous litigant and that security or sanctions are appropriate, it shall state on the record its reasons supporting that determination.  An order requiring security shall only be entered with an express determination that there is no reasonable probability that the litigant will prevail on the claim.  An order imposing preconditions on serving or filing new claims, motions, or requests shall only be entered with an express determination that no less severe sanction will sufficiently protect the rights of other litigants, the public, or the courts. 
               (d)          Ruling Not Deemed Determination of Issues.  No determination or ruling made by the court upon the motion shall be, or be deemed to be, a determination of any issue in the action or proceeding or of the merits thereof.  
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Rule 9.03 Failure to Furnish Security 
 
               If security is required and not furnished as ordered, the claim(s) subject to the security requirement may be dismissed with or without prejudice as to the offending party. 
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Rule 9.04 Stay of Proceedings 
 
               When a motion pursuant to Rule 9.01 is properly filed prior to trial, the action or proceeding is stayed and the moving party need not plead or respond to discovery or motions, until 10 days after the motion is denied, or if granted, until 10 days after the required security has been furnished and the moving party given written notice thereof.  When a motion pursuant to Rule 9.01 is made at any time after commencement of trial, the action or proceeding may be stayed for such period after the denial of the motion or the furnishing of the required security as the court shall determine.  
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Rule 9.05 Appeal 
 
               An order requiring security or imposing sanctions under this rule shall be deemed a final, appealable order.  Any appeal under this rule may be taken to the court of appeals as in other civil cases within 60 days after filing of the order to be reviewed.  
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Rule 9.06 Definitions 
 
               As used in this rule, the following terms have the following meanings: 
 
               (a) “Claim” means any relief requested in the form of a claim, counterclaim, cross claim, third party claim, or lien filed, served, commenced, maintained, or pending in any federal or state court, including conciliation court. 
               (b)          “Frivolous litigant” means: 
(1)       A person who, after a claim has been finally determined against the person, repeatedly relitigates or attempts to relitigate either 
(i)                the validity of the determination against the same party or parties as to whom the claim was finally determined, or
(ii)                  the cause of action, claim, controversy, or any of the issues of fact or law determined or concluded by the final determination against the same party or parties as to whom the claim was finally determined; or 
               (2)          A person who in any action or proceeding repeatedly serves or files frivolous motions, pleadings, letters, or other papers, conducts unnecessary discovery, or engages in oral or written tactics that are frivolous or intended to cause delay; or 
               (3)          A person who institutes and maintains a claim that is not well grounded in fact and not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law or that is interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigating the claim. 
               (c)          “Security” means either: 
               (1) an undertaking to assure payment, issued by a surety authorized to issue surety bonds in the State of Minnesota, to the party for whose benefit the undertaking is required to be furnished, of the party’s reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees and not limited to taxable costs, incurred in or in connection with a claim instituted, caused to be instituted, or maintained or caused to be maintained by a frivolous litigant or; 
               (2) cash tendered to and accepted by the court administrator for that purpose.  
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Rule 9.07 Effect on Other Provisions 
 
               Sanctions available under this rule are in addition to sanctions expressly authorized by any other statute or rule, or in the inherent power of the court.  
 
               (Added effective September 1, 1999.)
 
Advisory Committee Comment - 1999 Amendment
 
   This rule is intended to curb frivolous litigation that is seriously burdensome on the courts, parties, and litigants.  This rule is intended to apply only in the most egregious circumstances of abuse of the litigation process, and the remedies allowed by the rule can be viewed as drastic.  Because of the very serious nature of the sanctions under this rule, courts should be certain that all reasonable efforts have been taken to ensure that affected parties are given notice and an opportunity to be heard.  Rule 9.01 also requires that the court enter findings of fact to support any relief ordered under the rule, and this requirement should be given careful attention in the rare case where relief under this rule is necessary. 
   It is appropriate for the court to tailor the sanction imposed under this rule to the conduct and to limit the sanction to what is necessary to curb the inappropriate conduct of the frivolous litigant.  See Cello-Whitney v. Hoover, 769 F. Supp. 1155 (W.D. Wash. 1991). 
   This rule includes a specific provision relating to the possible appeal of an order for sanctions.  The rule provides that an appeal may be taken within 60 days, the same period allowed for appeals from orders and judgment, but specifies that the 60-day period begins to run from entry of the date of filing of the order.  This timing mechanism is preferable because the requirement of service of notice of entry may not be workable where only one party may be interested in the appeal or where the order is entered on the court’s own initiative.  The date of filing can be readily determined, and typically appears on the face of the order or is a matter of record, obviating confusion over the time to appeal.

 

 

Rule 10.  Tribal Court Orders and Judgments

 

Rule 10.01  When Tribal Court Orders and Judgments Must Be Given Effect

 

(a)  Recognition Mandated by Law.  Where mandated by state or federal statute, orders, judgments, and other judicial acts of the tribal courts of any federally recognized Indian tribe shall be recognized and enforced.

(b)  Procedure.

(1)  Generally.  Where an applicable state or federal statute establishes a procedure for enforcement of any tribal court order or judgment, that procedure must be followed.

(2)  Violence Against Women Act; Presumption.  An order that is subject to the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, 18 U.S.C. § 2265 (2003), that appears to be issued by a court with subject matter jurisdiction and jurisdiction over the parties, and that appears not to have expired by its own terms is presumptively enforceable, and shall be honored by Minnesota courts and law enforcement and other officials so long as it remains the judgment of the issuing court and the respondent has been given notice and an opportunity to be heard or, in the case of matters properly considered ex parte, the respondent will be given notice and an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time. The presumptive enforceability of such a tribal court order shall continue until terminated by state court order but shall not affect the burdens of proof and persuasion in any proceeding.

 

               (Added effective January 1, 2004.)

 

Rule 10.02  When Recognition of Tribal Court Orders and Judgments is    

          Discretionary

 

(a)  Factors.  In cases other than those governed by Rule 10.01(a), enforcement of a tribal court order or judgment is discretionary with the court.  In exercising this discretion, the court may consider the following factors:

(1)  whether the party against whom the order or judgment will be used has been given notice and an opportunity to be heard or, in the case of matters properly considered ex parte, whether the respondent will be given notice and an opportunity to be heard within a reasonable time;

(2)  whether the order or judgment appears valid on its face and, if possible to determine, whether it remains in effect;

(3)  whether the tribal court possessed subject-matter jurisdiction and jurisdiction over the person of the parties;

(4)  whether the issuing tribal court was a court of record;

(5)  whether the order or judgment was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion;

(6)  whether the order or judgment was obtained through a process that afforded fair notice, the right to appear and compel attendance of witnesses, and a fair hearing before an independent magistrate;

(7)  whether the order or judgment contravenes the public policy of this state;

(8)  whether the order or judgment is final under the laws and procedures of the rendering court, unless the order is a non-criminal order for the protection or apprehension of an adult, juvenile or child, or another type of temporary, emergency order;

(9)  whether the tribal court reciprocally provides for recognition and implementation of orders, judgments and decrees of the courts of this state; and

(10)   any other factors the court deems appropriate in the interests of justice.

(b)  Procedure.  The court shall hold such hearing, if any, as it deems necessary under the circumstances.

 

               (Added effective January 1, 2004.)

 

Advisory Committee Comment—2003 Adoption

 

Introduction.  Rule 10 is a new rule intended to provide a starting point for enforcing tribal court orders and judgments where recognition is mandated by state or federal law (Rule 10.01), and to establish factors for determining the effect of these adjudications where federal or state statutory law does not do so (Rule 10.02).

The rule applies to all tribal court orders and judgments and does not distinguish between tribal courts located in Minnesota and those sitting in other states.  The only limitation on the universe of determinations is that they be from tribal courts of a federally-recognized Indian tribe.  These courts are defined in 25 U.S.C. § 450b(e), and a list is published by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs.  See, e.g., 67 Fed. Reg. 46328 (July 12, 2002).

Tribal court adjudications are not entitled to full faith and credit under the United States Constitution, which provides only for full faith and credit for “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”  U. S. Const. Art IV, § 1.  But state and federal statutes have conferred the equivalent of full faith and credit status on some tribal adjudications by mandating that they be enforced in state court.  Where such full faith and credit is mandatory, a state does not exercise discretion in giving effect to the proper judgments of a sister state.  Baker v. Gen. Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 233 (1998) (“A final judgment in one State, if rendered by a court with adjudicatory authority over the subject matter and persons governed by the judgment, qualifies for recognition throughout the land.”)  Through full faith and credit, a sister state’s judgment is given res judicata effect in all other states.  See, e.g., id.; Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32, 42 (1940).

The enforcement in state court of tribal court adjudications that are not entitled to the equivalent of full faith and credit under a specific state or federal statute, is governed by the doctrine of comity.  Comity is fundamentally a discretionary doctrine.  It is rooted in the court’s inherent powers, as was early recognized in United States jurisprudence in Hilton v. Guyot, 159 U.S. 113, 163-164 (1895), where the court said: “No law has any effect, of its own force, beyond the limits of the sovereignty from which its authority is derived. The extent to which the law of one nation, as put in force within its territory, whether by executive order, by legislative act, or by judicial decree, shall be allowed to operate within the dominion of another nation, depends upon what our greatest jurists have been content to call ‘the comity of nations.’”

This inherent power was recognized in Minnesota in Traders’ Trust Co. v. Davidson, 146 Minn. 224, 227, 178 N.W. 735, 736 (1920) (citing Hilton, 159 U.S. at 227) where the court said: “Effect is given to foreign judgments as a matter of comity and reciprocity, and it has become the rule to give no other or greater effect to the judgment of a foreign court than the country or state whose court rendered it gives to a like judgment of our courts.”  In Nicol v. Tanner, 310 Minn. 68, 75-79, 256 N.W.2d 796, 800-02 (1976) (citing the Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws § 98 (1971)), the court further developed the doctrine of comity when it held that the statement in Traders’ Trust Co. that enforcement required a showing of reciprocity was dictum; that “reciprocity is not a prerequisite to enforcement of a foreign judgment in Minnesota;” and that the default status of a foreign judgment “should not affect the force of the judgment.”

Statutory Mandates.  Rule 10.01 reflects the normal presumption that courts will adhere to  statutory mandates for enforcement of specific tribal court orders or judgments where such a statutory mandate applies.  Federal statutes that do provide such mandates include:

1.  Violence Against Women Act of 2000, 18 U.S.C. § 2265 (2003) (full faith and credit for certain protection orders).

2.  Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1911(d) (2003) (“full faith and credit” for certain custody determinations).

3. Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1738B(a) (2003) (“shall enforce” certain child support orders and “shall not seek or make modifications . . . except in accordance with [certain limitations]”).

In addition to federal law, the Minnesota Legislature has addressed custody, support, child placement, and orders for protection.  The Minnesota Legislature adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 518D.101-518D.317 (2002) which: (1) requires recognition and enforcement of certain child custody determinations made by a tribe “under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of” the Act; and (2) establishes a voluntary registration process for custody determinations with a 20-day period for contesting validity.  Minn. Stat. §§ 518D.103; 104 (2002) (not applicable to adoption or emergency medical care of child; not applicable to extent ICWA controls).  In addition, the Minnesota Legislature has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 518C.101-518C.902 (2002), which provides the procedures for enforcement of support orders from another state [“state” is defined to include an Indian tribe, Minn. Stat. § 518C.101(s)(1) (2002)] with or without registration, and enforcement and modification after registration.  The Minnesota Legislature has also adopted the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 260.751 – 260.835 (2002), which provides, among other things, that tribal court orders concerning child placement (adoptive and pre-adoptive placement, involuntary foster care placement, termination of parental rights, and status offense placements) shall have the same force and effect as orders of a court of this state.  Minn. Stat. § 260.771, subd. 4 (2002).

The facial validity provision in Rule 10.01(b)(2) fills in a gap in state law.  Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14(e) (2002), authorizes an arrest based on probable cause of violation of tribal court order for protection; although this law includes immunity from civil suit for a peace officer acting in good faith and exercising due care, it does not address facial validity of the order.  Similar laws in other jurisdictions address this issue.  See, e.g., 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-30(a)(2) (Supp. 2003); Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 60.9B(1) (2003); Wisc. Stat. § 813.128(1) (2001-02).

The Minnesota Legislature has also addressed enforcement of foreign money judgments.  The Minnesota Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act, Minn. Stat. § 548.35 (2002), creates a procedure for filing and enforcing judgments rendered by courts other than those of sister states.  Tribal court money judgments fall within the literal scope of this statute and the statutory procedures therefore may guide Minnesota courts considering money judgments.  Cf. Anderson v. Engelke, 954 P.2d 1106, 1110-11 (Mont. 1998) (dictum) (statute assumed to allow enforcement by state courts outside of tribal lands, but question not decided).  In general, money judgments of tribal courts are not entitled to full faith and credit under the Constitution, and the court is allowed a more expansive and discretionary role in deciding what effect they have.  Rule 10.02(a) is intended to facilitate that process. 

Discretionary Enforcement: Comity.  Where no statutory mandate expressly applies, tribal court orders and judgments are subject to the doctrine of comity.  Rule 10.02(a) does not create any new or additional powers but only begins to describe in one convenient place the principles that apply to recognition of orders and judgments by comity.

Comity is also an inherently flexible doctrine.  A court asked to decide whether to recognize a foreign order can consider whatever aspects of the foreign court proceedings it deems relevant.  Thus Rule 10.02(a) does not dictate a single standard for determining the effect of these adjudications in state court. Instead, it identifies some of the factors a Minnesota judge may consider in determining what effect such a determination will be given.  Rule 10.02(a) does not attempt to define all of the factors that may be appropriate for consideration by a court charged with determining whether a tribal court determination should be enforced. It does enumerate many of the appropriate factors.  It is possible in any given case that one or more of these factors will not apply.  For example, reciprocity is not a pre-condition to enforceability generally, Nicol, 310 Minn. at 75-79, 256 N.W.2d at 800-02, but may be relevant in some circumstances.  Notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard (or the prospect of notice and right to hearing in the case of ex parte matters) are fundamental parts of procedural fairness in state and federal courts and are considered basic elements of due process; it is appropriate at least to consider whether the tribal court proceedings extended these rights to the litigants.  The issue of whether the tribal court is “of record” may be important to the determination of what the proceedings were in that court.  A useful definition of “of record” is contained in the Wisconsin statutes.  Wis. Stat. § 806.245(1)(c) (2001-02); see also Wis. Stat. § 806.245(3) (2001-02) (setting forth requirements for determining whether a court is “of record”).  The rule permits the court to inquire into whether the tribal court proceedings offered similar protections to the parties, recognizing that tribal courts may not be required to adhere to the requirements of due process under the federal and state constitutions.  Some of the considerations of the rule are drawn from the requirements of the Minnesota Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 548.26-.33 (2002).  For example, contravention of the state’s public policy is a specific factor for non-recognition of a foreign state’s judgment under Minn. Stat. § 548.35, subd. 4(b)(3)(2002); it is carried forward into Rule 10.02(a)(7). Inconsistency with state public policy is a factor for non-recognition of tribal court orders under other states’ rules.  See Mich. R. Civ. P. 2.615(C)(2)(c); N.D. R. Ct. 7.2(b)(4).

Hearing.  Rule 10.02(b) does not require that a hearing be held on the issues relating to consideration of the effect to be given to a tribal court order or judgment.  In some instances, a hearing would serve no useful purpose or would be unnecessary; in others, an evidentiary hearing might be required to resolve contested questions of fact where affidavit or documentary evidence is insufficient.  The committee believes the discretion to decide when an evidentiary hearing is held should rest with the trial judge.

 

 

RULE 11.  SubmissIon of Confidential Information

 

 

Rule 11.01     Definitions

 

            The following definitions apply for the purposes of this rule:

(a)              “Restricted identifiers” shall mean the social security number, employer identification number, and financial account numbers of a party or party’s child.

(b)              “Financial source documents” means income tax returns, W-2 forms and schedules, wage stubs, credit card statements, financial institution statements, check registers, and other financial information deemed financial source documents by court order.

 

Rule 11.02           Restricted Identifiers

 

               (a)  Pleadings and Other Documents Submitted by a Party.  No party shall submit restricted identifiers on any pleading or other document that is to be filed with the court except:

(i)                on a separate form entitled Confidential Information Form (see Form 11.1 appended to these rules) filed with the pleading or other document; or

(ii)             on Sealed Financial Source Documents under Rule 11.03.

The parties are solely responsible for ensuring that restricted identifiers do not otherwise appear on the pleading or other document filed with the court.  The court administrator will not review each pleading or document filed by a party for compliance with this rule. The Confidential Information Form shall not be accessible to the public.

            (b)       Records Generated by the Court.  Restricted identifiers maintained by the court in its register of actions (i.e., activity summary or similar information that lists the title, origination, activities, proceedings and filings in each case), calendars, indexes, and judgment docket shall not be accessible to the public.  Courts shall not include restricted identifiers on judgments, orders, decisions, and notices except on the Confidential Information Form (Form 11.1), which shall not be accessible to the public.

 

Rule 11.03     Sealing Financial Source Documents

 

               Financial source documents shall be submitted to the court under a cover sheet designated “Sealed Financial Source Documents” and substantially in the form set forth as Form 11.2 appended to these rules.  Financial source documents submitted with the required cover sheet are not accessible to the public except as provided in Rule 11.05 of these rules.  The cover sheet or copy of it shall be accessible to the public.  Financial source documents that are not submitted with the required cover sheet and that contain restricted identifiers are accessible to the public, but the court may, upon motion or on its own initiative, order that any such financial source document be sealed.

 

Rule 11.04     Failure to Comply

 

               If a party fails to comply with the requirements of this rule in regard to another individual’s restricted identifiers or financial source documents, the court may upon motion or its own initiative impose appropriate sanctions, including costs necessary to prepare an appropriate document for filing.

 

Rule 11.05     Procedure for Requesting Access to Sealed Financial Source Documents

 

(a)              Motion.  Any person may file a motion, supported by affidavit showing good cause, for access to Sealed Financial Source Documents or portions of the documents.  Written notice of the motion shall be required. 

(b)              Waiver of Notice.  If the person seeking access cannot locate a party to provide the notice required under this rule, after making a good faith reasonable effort to provide such notice as required by applicable court rules, an affidavit may be filed with the court setting forth the efforts to locate the party and requesting waiver of the notice provisions of this rule.  The court may waive the notice requirement of this rule if the court finds that further good faith efforts to locate the party are unlikely to be successful.

            (c)       Balancing Test.  The court shall allow access to Sealed Financial Source Documents, or relevant portions of the documents, if the court finds that the public interest in granting access or the personal interest of the person seeking access outweighs the privacy interests of the parties or dependent children.  In granting access the court may impose conditions necessary to balance the interests consistent with this rule.

 

(Adopted effective July 1, 2005.)

 

Advisory Committee Comment—2005 Adoption

 Rule 11 is a new rule, but is derived in part from former Rule 313.  It is also based on Wash. GR 22 (2003).  Under this rule, applicable in all court proceedings, parties are now responsible for protecting the privacy of restricted identifiers (social security numbers or employer identification numbers and financial account numbers) and financial source documents by submitting them with the proper forms.  Failure to comply would result in the public having access to the restricted identifiers and financial source documents from the case file unless the party files a motion to seal them or the court acts on its own initiative under Rule 11.03.  The Confidential Information Form from Rule 313 is retained, modified, and renumbered, and a new Sealed Financial Source Documents cover sheet has been added.  The court retains authority to impose sanctions against parties who violate the rule in regard to another individual’s restricted identifiers or financial source documents.

New in 2005 is the procedure for obtaining access to restricted identifiers and sealed financial source documents.  This process requires the court to balance the competing interest involved.  See, e.g., Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co.  v. Schumacher, 392 N.W.2d 197 (Minn. 1986) (when party seeks to restrict access to settlement documents and transcripts of settlement hearings made part of civil court file by statute, court must balance interests favoring access, along with presumption in favor of access, against those asserted for restricting access).