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MINNESOTA COURT RULES

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Rule 11.Signing of Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Representations to Court; Sanctions

11.01Signature

Every pleading, written motion, and other similar document shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. Each document shall state the signer's address and telephone number, if any, and attorney registration number if signed by an attorney. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. An unsigned document shall be stricken unless omission of the signature is corrected promptly after being called to the attention of the attorney or party. If authorized by order of the Minnesota Supreme Court, a document filed, signed, or verified by electronic means in accordance with that order constitutes a signed document for the purpose of applying these rules.

The filing or submitting of a document using an E-Filing System established by rule of court constitutes certification of compliance with the signature requirements of applicable court rules.

(Amended effective January 1, 1992; amended effective July 1, 2000; amended effective August 1, 2000; amended effective October 22, 2010; amended effective September 1, 2012.)

Advisory Committee Comment - 2010 Amendment

Rule 11.01 is amended to add the last sentence. This amendment makes it clear that "signing" in accordance with a rule allowing for filing and service by electronic means where authorized by an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court is treated as a signature for the purpose of Rule 11 or other provision in the rules. This amendment is intended to facilitate a pilot project on electronic filing in one or two districts, but is designed to be a model for the implementation of electronic filing and service if the pilot project is made permanent and statewide.

Advisory Committee Comment - 2012 Amendment

Rule 11.01 is amended to add the second paragraph. The sole purpose of the amendment is to make explicit the status of "signatures" affixed to pleadings and other documents that are electronically served. Whatever means is used to sign these documents, whether quill pen and ink, facsimile of a signature, or an indication that the document is signed (such as a "/s/ Pat Smith" notation), each will be treated the same way and deemed to be signatures for all purposes under the rule.

11.02Representations to Court

By presenting to the court (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,

(a) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation;

(b) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;

(c) the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(d) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.

(Amended effective January 1, 1992; amended effective July 1, 2000; amended effective August 1, 2000.)

11.03Sanctions

If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11.02 has been violated, the court may, subject to the conditions stated below, impose an appropriate sanction upon the attorneys, law firms, or parties that have violated Rule 11.02 or are responsible for the violation.

(a)How Initiated.

(1) By Motion. A motion for sanctions under this rule shall be made separately from other motions or requests and shall describe the specific conduct alleged to violate Rule 11.02. It shall be served as provided in Rule 5, 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 paper, claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected. If warranted, the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion the reasonable expenses and attorney fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm shall be held jointly responsible for violations committed by its partners, associates, and employees.

(2) On Court's Initiative. On its own initiative, the court may enter an order describing the specific conduct that appears to violate Rule 11.02 and directing an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why it has not violated Rule 11.02 with respect thereto.

(b)Nature of Sanction; Limitations.

A sanction imposed for violation of this rule shall be limited to what is sufficient to deter repetition of such conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. Subject to the limitations in Rule 11.03(a)(1) and (2), the sanction may consist of, or include, directives of a nonmonetary nature, an order to pay a penalty into court, or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of some or all of the reasonable attorney fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation.

(1) Monetary sanctions may not be awarded against a represented party for a violation of Rule 11.02(b).

(2) Monetary sanctions may not be awarded on the court's initiative unless the court issues its order to show cause before a voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party which is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.

(c)Order.

When imposing sanctions, the court shall describe the conduct determined to constitute a violation of this rule and explain the basis for the sanction imposed.

(Amended effective January 1, 1992; amended effective July 1, 2000; amended effective August 1, 2000.)

11.04Inapplicability to Discovery

Rules 11.01-.03 do not apply to discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions that are subject to the provisions of Rules 26 through 37.

(Amended effective January 1, 1992; amended effective July 1, 2000; amended effective August 1, 2000.)

Task Force Comment - 1991 Adoption

This rule amendment is patterned after 4th Dist. R. 1.01(c) & (e).

The Task Force believes that the simple additional requirement for signing pleadings, widely followed in practice, should best be made part of this rule governing signing of pleadings, motions and other papers.

Advisory Committee Comment - 2000 Amendment

Rule 11 is amended to conform completely to the federal rule. While Rule 11 has worked fairly well in its current form under the Supreme Court's guidance in Uselman v. Uselman, 464 N.W.2d 130 (Minn. 1990), the federal rules have been amended and create both procedural and substantive differences between state and federal court practices. Additionally, the Minnesota Legislature has created a statutory mechanism that follows the federal procedure, resulting in a confusing array of practice requirements and remedies. See Minnesota Statutes, section 549.211. On balance, the Committee believes that the amendment of the Rule to conform to its federal counterpart makes the most sense, given this Committee's long-standing preference for minimizing the differences between state and federal practice unless compelling local interests or long-entrenched reliance on the state procedure makes changing a rule inappropriate.

It is the intention of the Committee that the revised Rule would modify the procedure for seeking sanctions, but would not significantly change the availability of sanctions or the conduct justifying the imposition of sanctions. Courts and practitioners should be guided by the Uselman decision, cited above, and should continue to reserve the seeking of sanctions and their imposition for substantial departures from acceptable litigation conduct.

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