This case involved interpreting what it means to file an “action” under Minn. R. Civ. P. 5.04(a), which provides, in relevant part, that “[a]ny action that is not filed with the court within one year of commencement against any party is deemed dismissed with prejudice . . . .” In this dispute involving an insurance coverage claim, respondent-insured served appellant-insurer with a summons and complaint in June 2019. Respondent did not file the summons and complaint with the district court at that time. However, in October 2019, respondent filed a copy of the summons and complaint as an exhibit to an affidavit included with a memorandum in support of its motion for an appointment of a neutral umpire for appraisal. In January 2020, appellant filed its answer to the original complaint with the district court. Respondent did not file its summons and complaint as a standalone document until March 2021, more than 1 year after it had served appellant with the summons and complaint. Subsequently, the district court dismissed the case with prejudice, holding that respondent had failed to satisfy Rule 5.04(a) because the complaint was not filed within 1 year of service. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the term “action” in Rule 5.04(a) included appellant’s answer filed with the district court in January 2020. Because appellant’s answer was filed within 1 year of respondent serving the summons and complaint on appellant, the court of appeals concluded that the dictates of Rule 5.04(a) had been met.
The Supreme Court held that (1) Rule 5.04(a) requires the summons and complaint to be filed within 1 year of the commencement of the action; and (2) respondent complied with Rule 5.04(a) when it filed its summons and complaint as an exhibit to the district court in an ancillary motion pertaining to the same action. Affirmed.
Statutes of Limitation
This case required a determination as to whether the requirements concerning predatory-offender registration are a continuing violation that tolls the statute of limitations governing claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In 2009, appellant pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, which arose out of the same set of circumstances as a kidnapping charge that was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Based on this conviction and the related kidnapping charge, appellant was required to register as a predatory offender under Minn. Stat. § 243.166, subd. 1b. Over a decade later, appellant filed a civil action under § 1983 alleging that the continuing predatory-offender registration requirements violated his rights under the federal and state constitutions. The district court granted the motion to dismiss brought by respondent Superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The district court concluded that the applicable statutory limitations period of 6 years under Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(5), barred appellant’s § 1983 claims. The court further concluded that the continuing-violation doctrine did not apply to the predatory-offender registration requirements. The court of appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that (1) the requirements of predatory-offender registration in § 243.166 do not constitute a continuing violation that tolls the statute of limitations; and (2) the district court did not commit an error by dismissing appellant’s claims, arising from respondent’s determination that appellant must register as a predatory offender, as time barred by the 6-year statute of limitations in Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(5). Affirmed.
Change in the Law
This case involved a pro se appeal from the district court’s summary denial of petitioner’s second petition for postconviction relief. In 2003, a jury convicted petitioner of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, and attempted second-degree intentional murder. On direct appeal, petitioner’s felony murder conviction was vacated as a lesser-included offense but his sentence was otherwise affirmed. Petitioner filed this second postconviction petition in 2022, asserting that two other first-degree murder decisions of this court created a change in the law that required a new trial. The district court denied relief without holding a hearing. Petitioner appealed, but his notice of appeal was filed after the 60-day postconviction appeal deadline.
The Supreme Court held that (1) the court has jurisdiction to hear this appeal because good cause existed to grant a 30-day extension to the statutory time limit under Minn. R. Crim. P. 29.03, subd. 3(f); and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by summarily denying petitioner’s second petition for postconviction relief because his claim fails on the merits. Affirmed.
Defendant appealed from the district court’s denial of his motion to correct his sentence under Minn. R. Crim. P. 27.03, subd. 9. Defendant argued that the failure to complete a sentencing worksheet for his first-degree premeditated murder conviction meant that his sentence of life in prison was unlawful. The Supreme Court held that defendant’s life sentence was mandated by Minn. Stat. § 609.185(1) (2000). Affirmed.
Daniel Johnathan Brown was reinstated to the practice of law.
Julie L. Bruggeman was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law.
Rules of Criminal Procedure
The Supreme Court promulgated immediate amendments to form Appendix B to Rule 15 of these rules to reflect changes in the sentence for a gross misdemeanor and felony.