Minnesota Court Records Search
Minnesota court records are official documents of proceedings and decisions made in a legal case. They contain information such as pleadings, motions, orders, transcripts of court hearings, and judgments. Court records are essential in Minnesota's judicial process as they provide an official account of court proceedings and judgments. They can also inform future legal cases and ensure that the judicial process is transparent and fair. They are also useful in tracking the progress and status of a case and reviewing the decisions made by judges.
Minnesota court records search process involves obtaining court case information through the Minnesota Judicial Branch website or in-person access at a courthouse. Individuals can search and request court records by providing criteria such as case number, party name, or attorney name. This gives them access to view case summaries and full-text court documents.
The court records search can offer valuable insights into various individuals. Examples of these include citizens researching their case history or the legal history of others, attorneys, and legal professionals gathering information on past cases relevant to their current cases. Researchers and academics can also study legal trends and the judicial process. Overall, court records provide crucial information for anyone seeking to understand or view the legal system in Minnesota.
Are Minnesota Court Records Public?
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act controls individuals' access to all data collected, received, maintained, created, or disseminated by any government entity in the State of Minnesota. This Act, which was originally enacted in 1974, ensures that the public can request for, and where possible inspect and copy, public government data regardless of its physical form, storage medium, or conditions of use.
However, section 13.90 exempts the state's judicial branch from this Act. As a result, access to Minnesota court records is granted to the public per the Minnesota Supreme Court's Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch.
How Do I Find Court Records in Minnesota?
The first step to take when trying to obtain court records in Minnesota is identifying the type of records required. Once the type of records required has been identified, the next step to take when trying to find Minnesota court records is locating the court with these required records and contacting that court's record custodian. The Clerk of Appellate Courts maintains court records for the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The office of the Clerk can be contacted at:
305 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 291-5297
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays
In the Minnesota District Courts, court records are maintained by the Court Administrator of each court. Requesters can obtain contact details for the Minnesota District Courts and their Court Administrators through the Minnesota Judicial Branch's court directory. Listed below are the state's Tax Court and Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals:
Minnesota Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals
405 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 539-1210
Minnesota Tax Court
245 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: (651) 539-3260
After the appropriate record custodian has been contacted, requesters are typically required to provide details of the court records that they wish to inspect. These may include case numbers or details of parties that were involved in the case. Requesters that wish to obtain copies of Minnesota court records may also be required to present valid photo IDs and pay copy fees. Certified copies of Minnesota court records typically cost $14 per copy, uncertified copies cost $8 per copy and exemplified and certified copies cost $28 per copy.
Minnesota Court Records Public Access
District Courts in Minnesota provide electronic access to most court records through public access terminals that can be accessed in person at any state's district courthouses. However, these records can also be accessed remotely through the Minnesota Trial Court Public Access Remote View Portal. Interested parties that wish to utilize this portal can search for cases by case number, party name, or attorney name. Finally, individuals can also access the Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals case records and court opinions online through the Minnesota Appellate Courts Case Management System.
How to Conduct a Minnesota Court Record Search by Name
Minnesota court record search facilitates searches based on the case, document, hearing and judgement and several name-based search options:
- Search by record-holder's name: Search by a specific individual, usually for criminal or civil cases.
- Search by party name: Search by a specific party in a case, such as a plaintiff or a defendant.
- Search by attorney name: Search by a specific attorney or law firm.
- Search by judge name: Search by a specific judge to view cases they presided over.
How to Get Court Records Online for Free
Minnesota court records are available online for free through the Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO) portal. To access the portal, users can visit the Minnesota Judicial Branch website, select "Access Case Records" and then choose MCRO. Users can search for court records by providing information such as name, case number, and attorney. Results can be reviewed, and case summaries and available court documents can be accessed by clicking on the case number.
The Minnesota Public Access (MPA) Remote is a low-cost service which charges a fee of $8.50 per name per search. In-person access to court records is also available at district courthouses free of charge, though fees may be charged for copies or other related services. Public case records are locally stored in paper form, as Minnesota offers in-person counter access and public access terminals for electronic court records.
Considered open to citizens of the United States, court records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:
- The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
- The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.
While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.
Types of Courts in Minnesota
The judicial system in Minnesota is structured in three levels: trial courts, appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.
- Trial Courts: They are the lowest level of courts. They are also known as district courts and handle most cases through the court system. Minnesota has ten judicial districts, and each district has several courthouses.
- Appellate Courts: They are the intermediate level of courts. They hear appeals from the district courts, other lower courts, and some administrative agencies. Minnesota has two appellate courts: the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court.
- Supreme Court: It is the highest court level, and its decisions are final. It hears appeals from the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the district courts.
What are Minnesota Judgment Records?
Minnesota judgment records are documents created when the court decides a case filed in its jurisdiction. This decision becomes binding when the court enters it into the case record, signifying the end of most court cases unless a party pursues an appeal. The Minnesota Courts Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch makes judgment records public records available to interested members of the public.
Persons who wish to obtain Minnesota judgment records must visit the clerk's office in the court where the case was adjudicated. An intending searcher must know the litigants' names, docket numbers, or attorneys' names to obtain a judgment record from a case file. Furthermore, the requester must pay court fees for searching and making copies of the judgment record.
The information contained in Minnesota judgment records varies with case type. A typical judgment record contains the litigants' names, the judge's name, and judgment date. Persons who obtain judgment records can also expect to see the litigants' claims and the court's decision per claim or complaint.
What are Minnesota Bankruptcy Records?
Minnesota Bankruptcy records are a collection of documents filed in court by people or businesses seeking protection from creditors for outstanding debts. Bankruptcy is a federal law that is dealt with by the bankruptcy court. Individuals or companies can file for bankruptcy at any of the Minnesota bankruptcy courts. Bankruptcy provides debtors with a fresh start by keeping creditors at bay. However, it has a long-term negative impact on the filer's credit record, making it difficult to borrow in the future. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the two most common types of bankruptcy filed in Minnesota.
Bankruptcy records are deemed public information according to the provisions of Minnesota state statutes. Interested persons may access these records along with Minnesota liens, contracts, writs, and judgments by querying the relevant record custodian in the judicial district where the claim or petition was originally filed.
How to Find Bankruptcy Records in Minnesota
Bankruptcy records are generally public in Minnesota, as bankruptcy proceedings are a matter of public record. Bankruptcy records in Minnesota can be found through the web-based Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system for a fee.
PACER provides access to only federal court records, but it does not provide access to state court records. To access state court records in Minnesota, one needs to contact the relevant bankruptcy court directly or use the court's online access system, if available.
To conduct a bankruptcy search on PACER in Minnesota, A person needs to meet the following requirements:
- Have a PACER account: A person must register for an account to access federal court records, including bankruptcy records, through the PACER system.
- Pay applicable fees: PACER currently charges $0.10 per page for document retrieval, with a maximum charge of $3.00 per document. Users are also charged for searches and reports at $30 per search or report with a maximum charge of $90 per item.
- Know the search criteria: To conduct a bankruptcy search, the inquirer must know the case number, debtor name, or other relevant search criteria. This information can be obtained from the bankruptcy court or through other sources.
- Follow PACER rules and guidelines: The system has restrictions on the use of automated tools and limitations on the amount of data that can be downloaded that needs to be followed.
It's important to note that while bankruptcy records are generally public, certain information may be redacted or restricted for privacy or security reasons. Social security numbers, birth dates, and financial account numbers may be redacted to protect against identity theft.
Can You Look Up Court Cases in Minnesota?
Yes, a Minnesota court case lookup can be conducted remotely using the case number of the record or docket of interest. Case numbers are unique letter and number combinations that are given to each case filed in the state. These numbers help court officials and other interested parties track the case's progress as it moves through the state's court system. Individuals wishing to find a particular case number in Minnesota may do so at no cost through the Trial Court Public Access Remote View Portal and the Appellate Courts Case Management System maintained by the Minnesota Judicial Branch. Note that utilizing these platforms will require the user to provide the names of the parties involved in the case.
Minnesota Court Case Lookup Exemptions
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) sets the rules for government data practices, including how government data is classified, collected, used, and disseminated. Under the MGDPA, certain court records are classified as private, confidential, or nonpublic, exempting them from public disclosure under specific circumstances. Examples of records not accessible to the general public include:
- Juvenile court records
- Mental health commitment and treatment records
- Domestic abuse and harassment restraining order files
- Family court records
- Criminal investigation records
- Victim information
- Trade secrets and proprietary information
- Certain medical examiner and autopsy reports
- Certain attorney-client privileged communications
It's important to note that even if a court record is unavailable to the public, access to it may still be granted subject to certain limitations and conditions. Individuals who may have access to the record include parties to the case, law enforcement agencies, government officials, and other approved organizations and individuals.
What is a Court Docket in Minnesota?
A court docket in Minnesota is a calendar of cases scheduled to be heard in a court on a particular day or over a certain period. They are used by judges, attorneys, and court staff to manage court proceedings, schedule hearings, and trials, and ensure that cases are heard in an orderly and timely manner. Examples of court dockets in Minnesota include:
- Criminal Docket: This is a calendar of criminal cases scheduled to be heard in a particular court. The criminal docket includes information such as the defendant's name, the charges they are facing, the offense's date, and the hearing date and time.
- Civil Docket: This is a calendar of civil cases, which includes lawsuits and other disputes between private parties. The civil docket includes information such as the parties' names, the dispute's nature, and the hearing date and time.
- Family Docket: This is a calendar of family law cases, which includes matters such as divorce, child custody, and child support. The family docket includes information such as the parties' names, the dispute's nature, and the hearing date and time.
- Probate Docket: This is a calendar of cases involving the probate of estates, including the distribution of property and assets after someone has died. The probate docket includes information such as the deceased person's name, the beneficiaries' names, and the hearing date and time.
Minnesota's court dockets are available to the public and can be searched online through the Minnesota Judicial Branch's website.
What are Civil Court and Small Claims in Minnesota?
In the Minnesota court system, civil matters are handled by District Courts, and these courts have unlimited jurisdiction over these types of cases. Minnesota Statute Chapter 491A mandates that each District Court establish a Conciliation Division specifically for small claims civil matters.
These Minnesota small claims courts are non-jury trial courts that handle civil claims where the amount of money or property in controversy does not exceed $15,000. If the claim involves a credit card transaction, then the amount in controversy must not exceed $4,000. However, regardless of the amount in controversy, Conciliation Courts have no jurisdiction over certain types of civil matters, such as:
- Actions involving claims of defamation by libel or slander
- Actions involving medical malpractice
- Actions involving the title to real estate
- Actions involving evictions
- Class actions
- Actions involving prejudgment remedies
- Actions against deceased persons
Trials in Minnesota Conciliation Courts are simple and informal. Individuals are allowed to represent themselves, while businesses or associations may be represented by managers or other appropriate representatives. Parties that are unhappy with the judgments rendered can appeal to have their cases moved to the District Court. When this happens, the matter is tried afresh in the District Court. Note that if the party that requests removal to the District Court loses the case, they are statutorily required to pay an additional fee to the opposing party.