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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

491A.01 ESTABLISHMENT; POWERS; JURISDICTION.
    Subdivision 1. Establishment. The district court in each county shall establish a conciliation
court division with the jurisdiction and powers set forth in this chapter.
    Subd. 2. Powers; issuance of process. The conciliation court has all powers, and may issue
process as necessary or proper to carry out the purposes of this chapter. No writ of execution or
garnishment summons may be issued out of conciliation court.
    Subd. 3. Jurisdiction; general. (a) Except as provided in subdivisions 4 and 5, the
conciliation court has jurisdiction to hear, conciliate, try, and determine civil claims if the amount
of money or property that is the subject matter of the claim does not exceed $6,000 or, on
and after July 1, 1994, $7,500, or $4,000 if the claim involves a consumer credit transaction.
"Consumer credit transaction" means a sale of personal property, or a loan arranged to facilitate
the purchase of personal property, in which:
(1) credit is granted by a seller or a lender who regularly engages as a seller or lender in
credit transactions of the same kind;
(2) the buyer is a natural person;
(3) the claimant is the seller or lender in the transaction; and
(4) the personal property is purchased primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose
and not for a commercial, agricultural, or business purpose.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision and subdivisions 5 to 10, the territorial
jurisdiction of conciliation court is coextensive with the county in which the court is established.
The summons in a conciliation court action under subdivisions 6 to 10 may be served anywhere in
the state, and the summons in a conciliation court action under subdivision 7, paragraph (b), may
be served outside the state in the manner provided by law. The court administrator shall serve the
summons in a conciliation court action by first class mail, except that if the amount of money
or property that is the subject of the claim exceeds $2,500, the summons must be served by the
plaintiff by certified mail, and service on nonresident defendants must be made in accordance
with applicable law or rule. Subpoenas to secure the attendance of nonparty witnesses and the
production of documents at trial may be served anywhere within the state in the manner provided
by law.
When a court administrator is required to summon the defendant by certified mail under
this paragraph, the summons may be made by personal service in the manner provided in the
Rules of Civil Procedure for personal service of a summons of the district court as an alternative
to service by certified mail.
    Subd. 4. Jurisdiction; exclusions. The conciliation court does not have jurisdiction over
the following actions:
(1) involving title to real estate, including actions to determine boundary lines;
(2) involving claims of defamation by libel or slander;
(3) for specific performance, except to the extent authorized in subdivision 5;
(4) brought or defended on behalf of a class;
(5) requesting or involving prejudgment remedies;
(6) involving injunctive relief, except to the extent authorized in subdivision 5;
(7) pursuant to chapters 256, 257, 259, 260, 518, 518A, 518B, and 518C, except for actions
involving debts owed to state agencies or political subdivisions that arise under those chapters;
(8) pursuant to chapters 524 and 525;
(9) where jurisdiction is vested exclusively in another court or division of district court;
(10) for eviction; and
(11) involving medical malpractice.
    Subd. 5. Jurisdiction; personal property. If the controversy concerns the ownership or
possession of personal property the value of which does not exceed the jurisdictional limit under
subdivision 3, the conciliation court has jurisdiction to determine the ownership and possession
of the property and direct any party to deliver the property to another party. Notwithstanding
any other law to the contrary, once the judgment of the court directing return of the property
becomes final, it is enforceable by the sheriff of the county in which the property is located
without further legal process. The sheriff is authorized to effect repossession of the property
according to law, including, but not limited to: (1) entry upon the premises for the purposes of
demanding the property and ascertaining whether the property is present and taking possession
of it; and (2) causing the building or enclosure where the property is located to be broken open
and the property taken out of the building and if necessary to that end, the sheriff may call the
power of the county to the sheriff's aid. If the party against whom the judgment is directed is not
physically present at the time of entry by the sheriff, then a copy of the judgment must be served
upon any person in possession of the property or if no person is present, a copy of the judgment
must be left on the premises. After taking possession of the property, the sheriff shall turn the
property over to the prevailing party.
    Subd. 6. Jurisdiction; student loans. The conciliation court also has jurisdiction to
determine a civil action commenced by a plaintiff educational institution, including but not
limited to, a state college or university governed by the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State
Colleges and Universities, with administrative offices in the county in which the conciliation
court is located, to recover the amount of a student loan or loans even though the defendant or
defendants are not residents of the county under the following conditions:
(1) the student loan or loans were originally awarded in the county in which the conciliation
court is located;
(2) notice that payment on the loan is overdue has previously been sent by first class mail to
the borrower to the last known address reported by the borrower to the educational institution; and
(3) the notice states that the educational institution may commence a conciliation court action
in the county where the loan was awarded to recover the amount of the loan.
    Subd. 7. Jurisdiction; foreign defendants. (a) If a foreign corporation is subject by law to
service of process in this state or is subject to service of process outside this state under section
543.19, a conciliation court action may be commenced against the foreign corporation:
(1) in the county where the corporation's registered agent is located;
(2) in the county where the cause of action arose, if the corporation has a place of business in
that county either at the time the cause of action arose or at the time the action was commenced; or
(3) in the county in which the plaintiff resides, if the corporation does not appoint or maintain
a registered agent in this state, withdraws from the state, or the certificate of authority of the
corporation is canceled or revoked.
(b) If a nonresident other than a foreign corporation is subject to service of process outside
this state under section 543.19, a conciliation court action may be commenced against the
nonresident in the county in which the plaintiff resides.
    Subd. 8. Jurisdiction; multiple defendants. The conciliation court also has jurisdiction
to determine a civil action commenced against two or more defendants in the county in which
one or more of the defendants resides. Counterclaims may be commenced in the county where
the original action was commenced.
    Subd. 9. Jurisdiction; rental property. The conciliation court also has jurisdiction to
determine an action for damages arising from the landlord and tenant relationship under chapter
504B or under the rental agreement in the county in which the rental property is located.
    Subd. 10. Jurisdiction; dishonored checks. The conciliation court also has jurisdiction to
determine a civil action commenced by a plaintiff, resident of the county, to recover the amount
of a dishonored check issued in the county, even though the defendant or defendants are not
residents of the county, if the notice of nonpayment or dishonor described in section 609.535,
subdivision 3
, is sent to the maker or drawer as specified in that section and the notice states that
the payee or holder of the check may commence a conciliation court action in the county where
the dishonored check was issued to recover the amount of the check. This subdivision does not
apply to a check that has been dishonored by stop payment order.
History: 1993 c 321 s 2; 1994 c 465 art 1 s 57; 1994 c 502 s 2; 1996 c 395 s 18; 1999 c
199 art 2 s 28; 2003 c 2 art 2 s 15