Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

CHAPTER 546. TRIALS

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote
546.01Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.02Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.03Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.04Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.05Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.06Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.061APPLICATION OF LAWS 2005, CHAPTER 56, TERMINOLOGY CHANGES.
546.07ORDER OF TRIAL; ABSENCE OF PARTIES.
546.08CONTINUANCE.
546.09Repealed, 1977 c 286 s 21
546.095Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.10CHALLENGES.
546.11ORDER OF TRIAL.
546.12VIEW OF PREMISES; PROCEDURE.
546.13SICKNESS OF JUROR; FOOD AND LODGING.
546.14Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.15JURORS MAY TAKE CERTAIN PAPERS.
546.16VERDICT, WHEN RECEIVED; CORRECTING SAME; POLLING JURY.
546.17VERDICT BY FIVE-SIXTHS OF JURY.
546.18VERDICT; HOW SIGNED.
546.19VERDICT, GENERAL AND SPECIAL.
546.20Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.21Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.22JURY TO ASSESS RECOVERY.
546.23VERDICT IN REPLEVIN.
546.24RECEIVING VERDICT.
546.25ENTRIES ON RECEIVING VERDICT; RESERVING CASE.
546.26Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.27DECISION BY THE COURT.
546.28ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES WITHOUT ANSWER.
546.29Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.30Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11
546.31TRIAL UNFINISHED AT END OF TERM.
546.32TRIAL IN VACATION BY CONSENT.
546.33TRIAL BY REFEREES; FEES PAID BY THE COUNTY.
546.34Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.35SELECTION OF REFEREES; MAJORITY MAY ACT.
546.36Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.37MINORS MAY BE EXCLUDED, WHEN.
546.38Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.39Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.40Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.41Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12
546.42PERSONS DISABLED IN COMMUNICATION; INTERPRETERS.
546.43PROCEEDINGS WHERE INTERPRETER APPOINTED.
546.44QUALIFIED INTERPRETER.
546.01 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.02 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.03 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.04 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.05 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.06 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.061 APPLICATION OF LAWS 2005, CHAPTER 56, TERMINOLOGY CHANGES.
State agencies shall use the terminology changes specified in Laws 2005, chapter 56, section
1, when printed material and signage are replaced and new printed material and signage are
obtained. State agencies do not have to replace existing printed material and signage to comply
with Laws 2005, chapter 56, sections 1 and 2. Language changes made according to Laws 2005,
chapter 56, sections 1 and 2, shall not expand or exclude eligibility to services.
History: 2005 c 56 s 3
546.07 ORDER OF TRIAL; ABSENCE OF PARTIES.
The issues on the calendar of a general term shall be disposed of in the following order,
unless the court shall otherwise direct:
(1) jury cases;
(2) issues of fact to be tried by the court;
(3) issues of law.
If a party be absent, unless the court for good cause shall otherwise order, the adverse party
may proceed with the case and take a dismissal of the action or a verdict or judgment as the case
may require. If neither be present, the cause shall be stricken from the calendar.
History: (9291) RL s 4167; 1986 c 444
546.08 CONTINUANCE.
A motion to postpone a trial for the absence of evidence can only be made upon affidavit,
stating the evidence expected to be obtained, the reasons for its absence and for expecting that it
can be procured, and showing its materiality and that due diligence has been used to procure it; and
if the adverse party thereupon admits that such evidence would be given and that it be considered
as actually given on the trial, or offered and rejected as improper, the trial shall not be postponed.
History: (9292) RL s 4168
546.09 [Repealed, 1977 c 286 s 21]
546.095 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.10 CHALLENGES.
In any civil action or proceeding either party may challenge the panel, or individual jurors
thereon, for the same causes and in the same manner as in criminal trials, except that the number
of peremptory challenges to be allowed on either side shall be as provided in this section. Before
challenging a juror, either party may examine the juror in reference to qualifications to sit as a
juror in the cause. A sufficient number of jurors shall be called in the action so that six shall
remain after the exercise of the peremptory challenges as provided in this section, and to provide
alternate jurors when ordered by the court under Rule 47.02 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Each
party shall be entitled to two peremptory challenges, which shall be made alternately beginning
with the defendant. The parties to the action shall be deemed two, all plaintiffs being one party,
and all defendants being the other party, except, in case two or more defendants have adverse
interests, the court, if satisfied that the due protection of their interests so requires, may allow
the defendant or defendants on each side of the adverse interests not to exceed two peremptory
challenges. When the peremptory challenges have been exhausted or declined, the first six of
the remaining jurors shall constitute the jury.
History: (9294) RL s 4170; 1913 c 217 s 1; 1927 c 281; 1943 c 228 s 2; 1971 c 917 s 3;
1973 c 453 s 1; 1976 c 239 s 47; 1980 c 509 s 178; 1986 c 444
546.11 ORDER OF TRIAL.
In a civil case when the jury is completed and sworn, the trial shall proceed in the following
order, unless for special reasons the court shall otherwise direct:
(1) the plaintiff, after stating the issue, shall produce the plaintiff's evidence;
(2) the defendant may then open the defense, and produce evidence in support thereof;
(3) the parties may then respectively offer rebutting evidence only, unless the court, in
furtherance of justice, shall permit either to introduce evidence upon each's original case;
(4) when the evidence is concluded, unless the case be submitted by one side or both
without argument, the defendant shall open and the plaintiff close the argument to the jury;
provided, that if the defendant have the affirmative of the issue to be tried the foregoing order
of trial shall be reversed;
(5) if several defendants, having separate defenses, appear by different counsel, the court
shall determine their relative order in respect to both evidence and argument;
(6) when the argument is closed the court may charge the jury.
History: (9295) RL s 4171; 1979 c 233 s 21; 1986 c 444
546.12 VIEW OF PREMISES; PROCEDURE.
In a civil case when the court deems it proper that the jury should view real property which
is the subject of litigation, or the place where a material fact occurred, it may order them to be
taken, in a body and in the custody of proper officers, to the place, which shall be shown to
them by the judge, or by a person appointed by the court for that purpose; and while the jurors
are thus absent, no one other than the judge or person so appointed shall speak to them on any
subject connected with the trial.
History: (9296) RL s 4172; 1979 c 233 s 22
546.13 SICKNESS OF JUROR; FOOD AND LODGING.
If a juror becomes sick or otherwise unable to perform duty, the court may discharge the
juror. In that case, unless the parties consent to accept the verdict of the remaining jurors, another
may be sworn in place of the discharged juror and the trial begun anew, or the jury may be
discharged and another then or afterward impaneled. If the court, while a jury is kept together,
shall order that they be provided with food and lodging, the sheriff shall furnish the same at the
expense of the state courts.
History: (9297) RL s 4173; 1986 c 444; 1999 c 216 art 7 s 36
546.14 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.15 JURORS MAY TAKE CERTAIN PAPERS.
On retiring for deliberation, the jury may take with them all papers received in evidence
except depositions; but the court may direct that copies be made for their use of such records and
documents as ought not, in its judgment, to be taken from those entitled to their possession. The
jurors may also take with them notes of the testimony and proceedings made by themselves,
but none others. All such papers, except the notes aforesaid, shall be returned to the court
administrator before the jurors are discharged.
History: (9299) RL s 4175; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
546.16 VERDICT, WHEN RECEIVED; CORRECTING SAME; POLLING JURY.
While the jury are absent the court may adjourn from time to time, in respect to other
business, but it shall be considered open, for all purposes connected with the cause submitted,
until a verdict is rendered or the jury discharged. A final adjournment shall discharge the jury.
Before the verdict is recorded either party may require the jury to be polled, whereupon the court
administrator shall ask if each juror's verdict is the same as the announced verdict. If any answer
in the negative, the jury shall be sent out for further deliberation. If the verdict be defective in form
or insufficient, it may be corrected under the advice of the court, or the jury may be again sent out.
History: (9300) RL s 4176; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
546.17 VERDICT BY FIVE-SIXTHS OF JURY.
In any civil action or proceeding in any court of record the jury therein may return a verdict,
after six hours of deliberation, upon an agreement by five-sixths of its number. The jury's
deliberation commences when the officer in charge of the jury is sworn. The court administrator
records that time.
History: (9301) 1913 c 63 s 1; 1955 c 220 s 1; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
546.18 VERDICT; HOW SIGNED.
Where the verdict is agreed to by the full membership of the jury the foreperson only shall
sign the verdict, when less than the full number agree on the verdict the same shall be signed
by all the jurors who concur therein, and the court administrator shall enter on the minutes the
number of jurors concurring in the verdict.
History: (9302) 1913 c 63 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
546.19 VERDICT, GENERAL AND SPECIAL.
A general verdict is one by which the jury find generally upon all the issues in favor of the
plaintiff or defendant. A special verdict is one by which they find the facts only, and it shall so
present the conclusions of fact as established by the evidence that nothing remains to the court but
to draw from them conclusions of law.
History: (9303) RL s 4177
546.20 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.21 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.22 JURY TO ASSESS RECOVERY.
When a verdict is found for the plaintiff in an action for the recovery of money, or for the
defendant when a counterclaim for the recovery of money is established beyond the amount of the
plaintiff's claim as established, the jury shall assess the amount of the recovery.
History: (9306) RL s 4180
546.23 VERDICT IN REPLEVIN.
In an action for the recovery of specific personal property, if the property has not been
delivered to the claimant and the jury find that the claimant is entitled to its recovery, or if the
property is not in the possession of the respondent, and by answer the respondent claims a return
thereof, and the verdict is in the respondent's favor, the jury shall assess the value of the property
and the damages, if any are claimed in the complaint or answer, which the prevailing party has
sustained by reason of the detention, or taking and withholding, of such property. When the
verdict is in favor of the party having possession of the property its value shall not be found.
History: (9307) RL s 4181; 1979 c 18 s 11; 1986 c 444
546.24 RECEIVING VERDICT.
When the verdict is given, and is such as the court may receive, the court administrator shall
immediately file said verdict in open court, and read it to the jury, and inquire of them whether
it is their verdict. If any juror disagrees, the fact shall be entered in the minutes, and the jury
again sent out; but if no disagreement is expressed, the verdict is complete, and the jury shall
be discharged from the case. The court administrator shall forthwith record such verdict in full
in the court minutes.
History: (9308) RL s 4182; 1949 c 126 s 1; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
546.25 ENTRIES ON RECEIVING VERDICT; RESERVING CASE.
Upon receiving the verdict an entry shall be made in the minutes, specifying the time and
place of trial, the names of the jurors and witnesses, the verdict, and any order of the court made
in reference to the case. The court may reserve the case for argument and further consideration.
History: (9309) RL s 4183; 1974 c 394 s 9
546.26 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.27 DECISION BY THE COURT.
    Subdivision 1. Written decisions required. (a) When an issue of fact has been tried by
the court, the decision shall be in writing, the facts found and the conclusion of law shall be
separately stated, and judgment shall be entered accordingly. Except as provided in paragraph (b),
all questions of fact and law, and all motions and matters submitted to a judge for a decision in
trial and appellate matters, shall be disposed of and the decision filed with the court administrator
within 90 days after such submission, unless sickness or casualty shall prevent, or the time be
extended by written consent of the parties. No part of the salary of any judge shall be paid
unless the voucher therefor be accompanied by a certificate of the judge that there has been full
compliance with the requirements of this section.
(b) If a hearing has been held on a petition under chapter 260 involving physical or sexual
abuse of a child who is alleged to be in need of protection or services or neglected and in foster
care, the decision must be filed within 15 days after the matter is submitted to the judge.
    Subd. 2. Board of judicial standards review. At least annually, the board on judicial
standards shall review the compliance of each district judge with the provisions of subdivision
1. To facilitate this review, the director of the state judicial information system shall notify the
executive secretary of the state board on judicial standards when a matter exceeds 90 days without
a disposition. The board shall notify the commissioner of finance of each judge not in compliance.
If the board finds that a judge has compelling reasons for noncompliance, it may decide not to
issue the notice. Upon notification that a judge is not in compliance, the commissioner of finance
shall not pay the salary of that judge. The board may cancel a notice of noncompliance upon
finding that a judge is in compliance, but in no event shall a judge be paid a salary for the period
in which the notification of noncompliance was in effect.
History: (9311) RL s 4185; 1969 c 1034 s 1; 1979 c 333 s 105; 1981 c 356 s 359; 1983 c
301 s 219; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 1992 c 571 art 7 s 11; 1995 c 189 s 8; 1996 c 277 s 1; 2006 c
260 art 5 s 49
546.28 ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES WITHOUT ANSWER.
A defendant, without answering, may appear in the action and demand in writing an
assessment of the amount which the plaintiff is entitled to recover; and thereupon the court, upon
application of either party, shall direct the manner of such assessment. When the amount is thus
ascertained, the court administrator shall enter judgment therefor as in other cases.
History: (9245) RL s 4122; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
546.29 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.30 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 11]
546.31 TRIAL UNFINISHED AT END OF TERM.
When the trial of any action or proceeding, or of an indictment, is not concluded at the
expiration of the term in which it was begun, it may be concluded; and all proceedings may be had
in the case in the same manner and with like effect as if it had been concluded within such term.
History: (9314) RL s 4188
546.32 TRIAL IN VACATION BY CONSENT.
With consent of parties the court may try and decide issues of law or fact in vacation, and
thereupon judgment may be rendered at any time with the same effect as upon issues tried in
term time.
History: (9315) RL s 4189
546.33 TRIAL BY REFEREES; FEES PAID BY THE COUNTY.
When, in a trial by referee the court shall state in the order of appointment that the reference
is made necessary by press of business, the fees of the referee, as taxed and allowed by the court,
shall be paid out of the county treasury, as the salaries of county officers are paid.
History: (9316) RL s 4190; 1921 c 279 s 2; 1974 c 394 s 10
546.34 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.35 SELECTION OF REFEREES; MAJORITY MAY ACT.
If the parties do not agree upon the persons to be appointed, the selection shall be made by
the court from the resident electors of the state. If two be appointed, they shall meet and act
together; if three, all shall meet, but two may do any act which might be done by all.
History: (9318) RL s 4192
546.36 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.37 MINORS MAY BE EXCLUDED, WHEN.
When a cause of a scandalous or obscene nature is to be tried, the court or referee may
exclude from the courtroom all minors whose presence is not necessary as parties or witnesses.
History: (9320) RL s 4194
546.38 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.39 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.40 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.41 [Repealed, 1974 c 394 s 12]
546.42 PERSONS DISABLED IN COMMUNICATION; INTERPRETERS.
For the purposes of sections 546.42 to 546.44, a person disabled in communication is one
who, because of a hearing, speech, or other communication disorder, or because of difficulty in
speaking or comprehending the English language, is unable to fully understand the proceedings in
which the person is required to participate, or when named as a party to a legal proceeding, is
unable by reason of the deficiency to obtain due process of law.
History: 1975 c 337 s 1; 1981 c 131 s 1; 1984 c 460 s 1; 1986 c 444
546.43 PROCEEDINGS WHERE INTERPRETER APPOINTED.
    Subdivision 1. Qualified interpreter. In a civil action in which a disabled person is a litigant
or witness, the presiding judicial officer shall appoint a qualified interpreter to serve throughout
the proceedings.
    Subd. 2. Interpreter required. In a proceeding before a board, commission, agency, or
licensing authority of the state, or of a political subdivision of the state, where a witness or the
principal party in interest is a disabled person, all of the proceedings that are pertinent shall be
interpreted in a language the disabled person understands by a qualified interpreter appointed by
the board, commission, agency, or licensing authority.
History: 1975 c 337 s 2; 2005 c 56 s 1
546.44 QUALIFIED INTERPRETER.
    Subdivision 1. Qualifications. No person shall be appointed as a qualified interpreter
pursuant to sections 546.42 to 546.44 unless that person is readily able to communicate with
the disabled person, translate the proceedings for the disabled person, and accurately repeat
and translate the statements of the disabled person to the officials before whom the proceeding
is taking place.
    Subd. 2. Oaths. A qualified interpreter appointed pursuant to the provisions of sections
546.42 to 546.44, before entering upon any duties shall take an oath promising, to the best of
skill and judgment, to make a true interpretation to the disabled person being examined of all the
proceedings, in a language which the person understands, and that the interpreter will repeat in
the English language the statements of the disabled person to the court or other official before
whom the proceeding is taking place.
    Subd. 3. Fees and expenses. The fees and expenses of a qualified interpreter shall be
determined by the presiding official and paid by the court, board, commission, agency, or licensing
authority before whom the proceeding is taking place. The fees and expenses of a qualified per
diem interpreter for a court must be paid by the state courts.
    Subd. 4. Disclosure. A person serving as an interpreter pursuant to sections 546.42 to 546.44,
shall not, without the consent of the person disabled in communication, be allowed to disclose any
privileged communication made by the person or any privileged information gathered from the
person which was communicated or gathered during the time of service as the interpreter.
History: 1975 c 337 s 3; 1981 c 131 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1999 c 216 art 7 s 37; 2005 c 56 s 1