If by reason of death, sickness, or other disability a judge before whom an action has been tried is unable to perform judicial duties after a verdict is returned or findings of fact and conclusions of law are filed, any other judge regularly sitting in or assigned to the court in which the action was tried may perform those duties; but if such other judge is satisfied that the duties cannot be performed because that judge did not preside at the trial or for any other reason, that judge may exercise discretion to grant a new trial.
No judge shall sit in any case if that judge is interested in its determination or if that judge might be excluded for bias from acting therein as a juror. If there is no other judge of the district who is qualified, or if there is only one judge of the district, such judge shall forthwith notify the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court of that judge's disqualification.
Any party or attorney may make and serve on the opposing party and file with the administrator a notice to remove. The notice shall be served and filed within ten days after the party receives notice of which judge or judicial officer is to preside at the trial or hearing, but not later than the commencement of the trial or hearing.
No such notice may be filed by a party or party's attorney against a judge or judicial officer who has presided at a motion or any other proceeding of which the party had notice, or who is assigned by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. A judge or judicial officer who has presided at a motion or other proceeding or who is assigned by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court may not be removed except upon an affirmative showing of prejudice on the part of the judge or judicial officer.
After a party has once disqualified a presiding judge or judicial officer as a matter of right, that party may disqualify the substitute judge or judicial officer, but only by making an affirmative showing of prejudice. A showing that the judge or judicial officer might be excluded for bias from acting as a juror in the matter constitutes an affirmative showing of prejudice.
Upon the filing of a notice to remove or if a litigant makes an affirmative showing of prejudice against a substitute judge or judicial officer, the chief judge of the judicial district shall assign any other judge of any court within the district, or a judicial officer in the case of a substitute judicial officer, to hear the cause.
(Amended effective January 1, 1992; amended effective March 1, 2001.)