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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

491A.02 PROCEDURE.
    Subdivision 1. Procedure; rules; forms. The determination of claims in conciliation
court must be without jury trial and by a simple and informal procedure. Conciliation court
proceedings must not be reported. By July 1, 1993, the Supreme Court shall promulgate rules
governing pleading, practice, and procedure for conciliation courts, and shall promulgate uniform
claim and counterclaim forms. The claim and summons must include a conspicuous notice in at
least 10-point bold type regarding the consequences of a failure to appear at a conciliation court
hearing. Each conciliation court shall accept a uniform claim or counterclaim that has been
properly completed and forwarded to the court together with the entire filing fee, if any.
    Subd. 2. Assistance to litigants. Under the supervision of the conciliation court judges, the
court administrator shall explain to litigants the procedure and functions of the conciliation court
and shall on request assist them in filling out all forms and pleading necessary for the presentation
of their claims or counterclaims to the court. The uniform claim and counterclaim forms must
be accepted by any court administrator and shall on request be forwarded together with the
entire filing fee, if any, to the court administrator of the appropriate conciliation court. The court
administrator shall on request assist judgment creditors and debtors in the preparation of the forms
necessary to obtain satisfaction of a final judgment. The performance of duties prescribed in this
subdivision do not constitute the practice of law for purposes of section 481.02, subdivision 8.
    Subd. 3. Fees. The court administrator shall charge and collect the fee established pursuant
to section 357.022, together with applicable law library fees established pursuant to law, from a
plaintiff and from a defendant when the first paper for that party is filed in any conciliation court
action. The rules promulgated by the Supreme Court shall provide for commencement of an
action without payment of fees when a litigant who is a natural person claims an inability to pay
the fees, provided that if the litigant prevails on a claim or counterclaim, the fees must be paid to
the administrator out of any money recovered by the litigant.
    Subd. 4. Representation. (a) A corporation, partnership, limited liability company, sole
proprietorship, or association may be represented in conciliation court by an officer, manager,
or partner or an agent in the case of a condominium, cooperative, or townhouse association, or
may appoint a natural person who is an employee or commercial property manager to appear
on its behalf or settle a claim in conciliation court. The state or a political subdivision of the
state may be represented in conciliation court by an employee of the pertinent governmental
unit without a written authorization. Representation under this subdivision does not constitute
the practice of law for purposes of section 481.02, subdivision 8. In the case of an officer,
employee, commercial property manager, or agent of a condominium, cooperative, or townhouse
association, an authorized power of attorney, corporate authorization resolution, corporate bylaw,
or other evidence of authority acceptable to the court must be filed with the claim or presented
at the hearing. This subdivision also applies to appearances in district court by a corporation or
limited liability company with five or fewer shareholders or members and to any condominium,
cooperative, or townhouse association, if the action was removed from conciliation court.
(b) "Commercial property manager" means a corporation, partnership, or limited liability
company or its employees who are hired by the owner of commercial real estate to perform a
broad range of administrative duties at the property including tenant relations matters, leasing,
repairs, maintenance, the negotiation and resolution of tenant disputes, and related matters. In
order to appear in conciliation court, a property manager's employees must possess a real estate
license under section 82.20 and be authorized by the owner of the property to settle all disputes
with tenants and others within the jurisdictional limits of conciliation court.
(c) A commercial property manager who is appointed to settle a claim in conciliation court
may not charge or collect a separate fee for services rendered under paragraph (a).
    Subd. 5. Installment payments. A judgment ordered may provide for satisfaction by
payments in installments in amounts and at such times, not exceeding one year for the last
installment, as the judge determines to be just and reasonable. If any installment is not paid when
due, the entire balance of the judgment order becomes immediately due and payable.
    Subd. 6. Appeal by removal to district court; trial de novo; notice of costs. The rules
promulgated by the Supreme Court must provide for a right of appeal from the decision of the
conciliation court by removal to the district court for a trial de novo. The notice of order for
judgment must contain a statement that if the removing party does not prevail in district court as
provided in subdivision 7, the opposing party may be awarded an additional $50 as costs.
    Subd. 7. Costs in district court. (a) For the purposes of this subdivision, "removing party"
means the first party who serves or files a demand for removal. "Opposing party" means any party
as to whom the removing party seeks a reversal in whole or in part.
(b) If the removing party prevails in district court, the removing party may recover costs
from the opposing party as though the action were commenced in district court. If the removing
party does not prevail, the court shall order an additional $50 to be paid to the opposing party as
costs. If the removing party is eligible to proceed under section 563.01, the additional $50 costs
may be waived if the court, in its discretion, determines that a hardship exists and that the case
was removed from conciliation court in good faith.
(c) For purposes of this section, the removing party prevails in district court if:
(1) the removing party recovers at least $500 or 50 percent of the amount of value of
property that the removing party requested on removal, whichever is less, when the removing
party was denied any recovery in conciliation court;
(2) the opposing party does not recover any amount or any property from the removing
party in district court when the opposing party recovered some amount or some property in
conciliation court;
(3) the removing party recovers an amount or value of property in district court that exceeds
the amount or value of property that the removing party recovered in conciliation court by at
least $500 or 50 percent, whichever is less; or
(4) the amount or value of property that the opposing party recovers from the removing party
in district court is reduced from the amount or value of property that the opposing party recovered
in conciliation court by at least $500 or 50 percent, whichever is less.
(d) Costs or disbursements in conciliation or district court must not be considered in
determining whether there was a recovery by either party in either court or in determining the
difference in recovery under this section.
    Subd. 8. Appeal from district court. Decisions of the district court on removal from a
conciliation court determination on the merits may be appealed to the Court of Appeals as
in other civil actions.
    Subd. 9. Judgment debtor disclosure. Notwithstanding any contrary provision in rule 518
of the Conciliation Court Rules, unless the parties have otherwise agreed, if a conciliation court
judgment or a judgment of district court on removal from conciliation court has been docketed in
district court, the district court in the county in which the judgment originated shall, upon request
of the judgment creditor, order the judgment debtor to mail to the judgment creditor information
as to the nature, amount, identity, and locations of all the debtor's assets, liabilities, and personal
earning. The information must be provided on a form prescribed by the Supreme Court, and the
information shall be sufficiently detailed to enable the judgment creditor to obtain satisfaction of
the judgment by way of execution on nonexempt assets and earnings of the judgment debtor. The
order must contain a notice that failure to complete the form and mail it to the judgment creditor
within ten days after service of the order may result in a citation for civil contempt of court. Cash
bail posted as a result of being cited for civil contempt of court order under this section may be
ordered payable to the creditor to satisfy the judgment, either partially or fully.
History: 1993 c 321 s 3; 1994 c 502 s 3; 1995 c 254 art 5 s 15; 2004 c 226 s 1