(a) Initial Disclosure.
(1) In General. Except as exempted by Rule 26.01(a)(2) or as otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party must, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to the other parties:
(A) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable information - along with the subjects of that information - that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;
(B) a copy - or a description by category and location - of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;
(C) a computation of each category of damages claimed by the disclosing party - who must also make available for inspection and copying as under Rule 34 the documents or other evidentiary material, unless privileged or protected from disclosure, on which each computation is based, including materials bearing on the nature and extent of injuries suffered; and
(D) for inspection and copying as under Rule 34, any insurance agreement under which an insurance business may be liable to satisfy all or part of a possible judgment in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.
(2) Proceedings Exempt from Disclosure. Unless otherwise ordered by the court in an action, the following proceedings are exempt from disclosures under Rule 26.01(a), (b), and (c):
(A) an action for review on an administrative record;
(B) a forfeiture action in rem arising from a state statute;
(C) a petition for habeas corpus or any other proceeding to challenge a criminal conviction or sentence;
(D) an action brought without an attorney by a person in the custody of the United States, a state, or a state subdivision;
(E) an action to enforce or quash an administrative summons or subpoena;
(F) a proceeding ancillary to a proceeding in another court;
(G) an action to enforce an arbitration award;
(I) Torrens actions;
(J) conciliation court appeals;
(L) removals from housing court to district court;
(M) harassment proceedings;
(N) name change proceedings;
(O) default judgments;
(P) actions to either docket a foreign judgment or re-docket a judgment within the district;
(Q) appointment of trustee;
(R) condemnation appeal;
(S) confession of judgment;
(T) implied consent;
(U) restitution judgment; and
(V) tax court filings.
(3) Time for Initial Disclosures - In General. A party must make the initial disclosures at or within 60 days after the original due date when an answer is required, unless a different time is set by stipulation or court order, or unless an objection is made in a proposed discovery plan submitted as part of a civil cover sheet required under Rule 104 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. In ruling on the objection, the court must determine what disclosures, if any, are to be made and must set the time for disclosure.
(4) Time for Initial Disclosures - For Parties Served or Joined Later. A party that is first served or otherwise joined after the initial disclosures are due under Rule 26.01(a)(3) must make the initial disclosures within 30 days after being served or joined, unless a different time is set by stipulation or court order.
(5) Basis for Initial Disclosure; Unacceptable Excuses. A party must make its initial disclosures based on the information then reasonably available to it. A party is not excused from making its disclosures because it has not fully investigated the case or because it challenges the sufficiency of another party's disclosures or because another party has not made its disclosures.
(b) Disclosure of Expert Testimony.
(1) In General. In addition to the disclosures required by Rule 26.01(a), a party must disclose to the other parties the identity of any witness it may use at trial to present evidence under Minnesota Rule of Evidence 702, 703, or 705.
(2) Witnesses Who Must Provide a Written Report. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, this disclosure must be accompanied by a written report - prepared and signed by the witness - if the witness is one retained or specially employed to provide expert testimony in the case or one whose duties as the party's employee regularly involve giving expert testimony. The report must contain:
(A) a complete statement of all opinions the witness will express and the basis and reasons for them;
(B) the facts or data considered by the witness in forming them;
(C) any exhibits that will be used to summarize or support them;
(D) the witness's qualifications, including a list of all publications authored in the previous 10 years;
(E) a list of all other cases in which, during the previous 4 years, the witness testified as an expert at trial or by deposition; and
(F) a statement of the compensation to be paid for the study and testimony in the case.
(3) Witnesses Who Do Not Provide a Written Report. Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, if the witness is not required to provide a written report, this disclosure must state:
(B) a summary of the facts and opinions to which the witness is expected to testify.
(4) Time to Disclose Expert Testimony. A party must make these disclosures at the times and in the sequence that the court orders. Absent a stipulation or a court order, the disclosures must be made:
(A) at least 90 days before the date set for trial or for the case to be ready for trial; or
(B) if the evidence is intended solely to contradict or rebut evidence on the same subject matter identified by another party under Rule 26.01(b)(2) or (3), within 30 days after the other party's disclosure.
(5) Supplementing the Disclosure. The parties must supplement these disclosures when required under Rule 26.05.
(c) Pretrial Disclosures
(1) In General. In addition to the disclosures required by Rule 26.01(a) and (b), a party must provide to the other parties the following information about the evidence that it may present at trial other than solely for impeachment:
(A) the name and, if not previously provided, the address and telephone number of each witness - separately identifying those the party expects to present and those it may call if the need arises;
(B) the designation of those witnesses whose testimony the party expects to present by deposition and, if not taken stenographically, a transcript of the pertinent parts of the deposition; and
(C) an identification of each document or other exhibit, including summaries of other evidence - separately identifying those items the party expects to offer and those it may offer if the need arises.
(2) Time for Pretrial Disclosures; Objections. Unless the court orders otherwise, these disclosures must be made at least 30 days before trial. Within 14 days after they are made, unless the court sets a different time, a party may serve and promptly file a list of the following objections: any objections to the use under Rule 32.01 of a deposition designated by another party under Rule 26.01(c)(1)(B); and any objection, together with the grounds for it, that may be made to the admissibility of materials identified under Rule 26.01(c)(1)(C). An objection not so made - except for one under Minnesota Rule of Evidence 402 or 403 - is waived unless excused by the court for good cause.
(d) Form of Disclosures. Unless the court orders otherwise, all disclosures under Rule 26.01 must be in writing, signed, and served.
(Amended effective July 1, 2013.)
Unless otherwise limited by order of the court in accordance with these rules, the methods and scope of discovery are as follows:
(a) Methods. Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions by oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property; for inspection and other purposes; physical (including blood) and mental examinations; and requests for admission.
(b) Scope and Limits. Discovery must be limited to matters that would enable a party to prove or disprove a claim or defense or to impeach a witness and must comport with the factors of proportionality, including without limitation, the burden or expense of the proposed discovery weighed against its likely benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues. Subject to these limitations, parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to a claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. Upon a showing of good cause and proportionality, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information sought need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
(1) Authority to Limit Frequency and Extent. The court may establish or alter the limits on the number of depositions and interrogatories and may also limit the length of depositions under Rule 30 and the number of requests under Rule 36. The court may act upon its own initiative after reasonable notice or pursuant to a motion under Rule 26.03.
(2) Limits on Electronically Stored Evidence for Undue Burden or Cost. A party need not provide discovery of electronically stored information from sources that the party identifies as not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. On motion to compel discovery or for a protective order, the party from whom discovery is sought must show that the information is not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. If that showing is made, the court may nonetheless order discovery from such sources if the requesting party shows good cause and proportionality, considering the limitations of Rule 26.02(b)(3). The court may specify conditions for the discovery.
(3) Limits Required When Cumulative; Duplicative; More Convenient Alternative; and Ample Prior Opportunity. The frequency or extent of use of the discovery methods otherwise permitted under these rules shall be limited by the court if it determines that: (i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; or (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity by discovery in the action to obtain the information sought. The court may act upon its own initiative after reasonable notice or pursuant to a motion under Rule 26.03.
(c) Insurance Agreements. In any action in which there is an insurance policy that may afford coverage, any party may require any other party to disclose the coverage and limits of such insurance and the amounts paid and payable thereunder and, pursuant to Rule 34, may obtain production of the insurance policy; provided, however, that this provision will not permit such disclosed information to be introduced into evidence unless admissible on other grounds.
(d) Trial Preparation: Materials. Subject to the provisions of Rule 26.02(e) a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable pursuant to Rule 26.02(b) and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party's representative (including the other party's attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of the party's case and that the party is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation.
A party may obtain without the required showing a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that party. Upon request, a party or other person may obtain without the required showing a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that person who is not a party. If the request is refused, the person may move for a court order. The provisions of Rule 37.01(d) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. For purposes of this paragraph, a statement previously made is (1) a written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by the person making it, or (2) a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, that is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement by the person making it and contemporaneously recorded.
(e) Trial Preparation: Experts. Discovery of facts known and opinions held by experts, otherwise discoverable pursuant to Rule 26.02(b) and acquired or developed in anticipation of litigation or for trial, may be obtained only as follows:
(1)(A) A party may through interrogatories require any other party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an expert witness at trial, to state the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, and to state the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. (B) Upon motion, the court may order further discovery by other means, subject to such restrictions as to scope and such provisions, pursuant to Rule 26.02(e)(3), concerning fees and expenses, as the court may deem appropriate.
(2) A party may discover facts known or opinions held by an expert who has been retained or specially employed by another party in anticipation of litigation or preparation for trial and who is not expected to be called as a witness at trial, only as provided in Rule 35.02 or upon a showing of exceptional circumstances under which it is impracticable for the party seeking discovery to obtain facts or opinions on the same subject by other means.
(3) Unless manifest injustice would result, (A) the court shall require the party seeking discovery to pay the expert a reasonable fee for time spent in responding to discovery pursuant to Rules 26.02(e)(1)(B) and 26.02(e)(2); and (B) with respect to discovery obtained pursuant to Rule 26.02(e)(1)(B), the court may require, and with respect to discovery obtained pursuant to Rule 26.02(e)(2) the court shall require, the party seeking discovery to pay the other party a fair portion of the fees and expenses reasonably incurred by the latter party in obtaining facts and opinions from the expert.
(f) Claims of Privilege or Protection of Trial Preparation Materials.
(1) When a party withholds information otherwise discoverable under these rules by claiming that it is privileged or subject to protection as trial preparation material, the party shall make the claim expressly and shall describe the nature of the documents, communications, or things not produced or disclosed in a manner that, without revealing information itself privileged or protected, will enable other parties to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection.
(2) If information is produced in discovery that is subject to a claim of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation material, the party making the claim may notify any party that received the information of the claim and the basis for it. After being notified, a party must promptly return, sequester, or destroy the specified information and any copies it has and may not use or disclose the information until the claim is resolved. A receiving party may promptly present the information to the court under seal for a determination of the claim. If the receiving party disclosed the information before being notified, it must take reasonable steps to retrieve it. The producing party must preserve the information until the claim is resolved.
(Amended effective July 1, 2000; amended effective January 1, 2006; amended effective July 1, 2007; amended effective May 28, 2008; amended effective July 1, 2013.)
Upon motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the court in which the action is pending or alternatively, on matters relating to a deposition, the court in the district where the deposition is to be taken may make any order which justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following:
(a) that the discovery not be had;
(b) that the discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time or place;
(c) that the discovery may be had only by a method of discovery other than that selected by the party seeking discovery;
(d) that certain matters not be inquired into, or that the scope of the discovery be limited to certain matters;
(e) that discovery be conducted with no one present except persons designated by the court;
(f) that a deposition, after being sealed, be opened only by order of the court;
(g) that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way; or
(h) that the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information enclosed in sealed envelopes to be opened as directed by the court.
If the motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the court may, on such terms and conditions as are just, order that any party or person provide or permit discovery. Rule 37.01(d) applies to the award of expenses incurred in connection with the motion.
(a) Timing. Notwithstanding the provisions of Rules 26.02, 30.01, 31.01(a), 33.01(a), 34.02, 36.01, and 45, parties may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have conferred and prepared a discovery plan as required by Rule 26.06(c) except in a proceeding exempt from initial disclosure under Rule 26.01(a)(2), or when allowed by stipulation or court order.
(b) Sequence. Unless the court upon motion, for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interests of justice, orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence and the fact that a party is conducting discovery, whether by deposition or otherwise, shall not operate to delay any other party's discovery.
(c) Expedited Litigation Track. Expedited timing and modified content of certain disclosure and discovery obligations may be required by order of the supreme court adopting special rules for the pilot expedited civil litigation track.
(Amended effective July 1, 2013.)
A party who has responded to a request for discovery is under a duty to supplement or correct the response to include information thereafter acquired if ordered by the court or in the following circumstances:
A party is under a duty seasonably to amend a prior response to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for admission if the party learns that the response is in some material respect incomplete or incorrect and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing. With respect to testimony of an expert, the duty extends to information contained in interrogatory responses, in any report of the expert, and to information provided through a deposition of the expert.
(Amended effective July 1, 2000.)
(a) Conference Timing. Except in a proceeding exempted from initial disclosure under Rule 26.01(a)(2) or when the court orders otherwise, the parties must confer as soon as practicable - and in any event within 30 days from the initial due date for an answer.
(b) Conference Content; Parties' Responsibilities. In conferring, the parties must consider the nature and basis of their claims and defenses and the possibilities for promptly settling or resolving the case; make or arrange for the disclosures required by Rule 26.01(a), (b); discuss any issues about preserving discoverable information; and develop a proposed discovery plan. The attorneys of record and all self-represented litigants that have appeared in the case are jointly responsible for arranging the conference, and for attempting in good faith to agree on the proposed discovery plan. A written report outlining the discovery plan must be filed with the court within 14 days after the conference or at the time the action is filed, whichever is later. The court may order the parties or attorneys to attend the conference in person.
(c) Discovery Plan. A discovery plan must state the parties' views and proposals on:
(1) what changes should be made in the timing, form, or requirement for disclosures under Rule 26.01, including a statement of when initial disclosures were made or will be made;
(2) the subjects on which discovery may be needed, when discovery should be completed, and whether discovery should be conducted in phases or be limited to or focused on particular issues;
(3) any issues about disclosure or discovery of electronically stored information, including the form or forms in which it should be produced;
(4) any issues about claims of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation materials, including - if the parties agree on a procedure to assert these claims after production - whether to ask the court to include their agreement in an order;
(5) what changes should be made in the limitations on discovery imposed under these rules or by local rule, and what other limitations should be imposed; and
(d) Conference with the Court. At any time after service of the summons, the court may direct the attorneys for the parties to appear before it for a conference on the subject of discovery. The court shall do so upon motion by the attorney for any party if the motion includes:
(1) A statement of the issues as they then appear;
(2) A proposed plan and schedule of discovery;
(3) Any issues relating to disclosure or discovery of electronically stored information, including the form or forms in which it should be produced;
(4) Any issues relating to claims of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation material, including - if the parties agree on a procedure to assert such claims after production - whether to ask the court to include their agreement in an order;
(5) Any limitations proposed to be placed on discovery;
(6) Any other proposed orders with respect to discovery; and
(7) A statement showing that the attorney making the motion has made a reasonable effort to reach agreement with opposing attorneys on the matter set forth in the motion. All parties and attorneys are under a duty to participate in good faith in the framing of any proposed discovery plan.
Notice of the motion shall be served on all parties. Objections or additions to matters set forth in the motion shall be served not later than 10 days after the service of the motion.
Following the discovery conference, the court shall enter an order tentatively identifying the issues for discovery purposes, establishing a plan and schedule for discovery, setting limitations on discovery, if any, and determining such other matters, including the allocation of expenses, as are necessary for the proper management of discovery in the action. An order may be altered or amended whenever justice so requires.
Subject to the right of a party who properly moves for a discovery conference to prompt convening of the conference, the court may combine the discovery conference with a pretrial conference authorized by Rule 16.
(Amended effective July 1, 2007; amended effective July 1, 2013; amended effective July 1, 2015.)
In addition to the requirements of Rule 33.01(d), every request for discovery or response or objection thereto made by a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, whose address and e-mail address shall be stated. A self-represented litigant shall sign the request, response, or objection and state the party's address and e-mail address. The signature constitutes a certification that the attorney or party has read the request, response, or objection, and that to the best of the signer's knowledge, information and belief formed after a reasonable inquiry it is: (1) consistent with these rules and warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law; (2) not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation; and (3) not unreasonable or unduly burdensome or expensive, given the needs of the case, the discovery had in the case, the amount in controversy, and the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation. If a request, response, or objection is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the party making the request, response or objection and a party shall not be obligated to take any action with respect to it until it is signed.
If a certification is made in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the person who made the certification, the party on whose behalf the request, response, or objection is made, or both, an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the violation, including reasonable attorney fees.
(Amended effective July 1, 2015.)