Conciliation Court is designed as a quick and easy way for citizens to have their “small claims” heard in an expedited process.
The maximum amount of claim that may be awarded is $10,000.00.
Starting on August 1, 2014, the limit was increased to $15,000.00. This is the second highest conciliation court limit in the United States behind the state of Tennessee.
Counter-claims may also be heard in conciliation court. If you have been sued, it is important to consider whether or not you have a valid counter-claim. If you do not properly bring a counter-claim it may be permanently waived if the counter-claim involves the same subject matter. The maximum amount of a counter-claim in Minnesota is also $15,000.00.
Only money damages and replevin actions may be heard in conciliation court. By law, Conciliation Court does not have jurisdiction for “equitable claims” such as specific performance, injunctions, and declaratory relief. Personal injury cases, criminal law cases, and family law cases are not allowed in Conciliation Court.
There are many procedural rules that must be followed in order to obtain a hearing in Conciliation Court. After obtaining a judgment in Conciliation Court, the case must be “transcribed” to District Court. The process to transcribe a judgment into District Court, involves completing and filing an Affidavit of Identity and filing it with the Court along with a filing fee of $42.00. A judgment in Conciliation Court is not enforceable until it is transcribed in District Court.
There are number of difficulties in dealing with Conciliation Court including the fact that each County in Minnesota has their own manner of administering Conciliation Court. Another obstacle in dealing with Conciliation Court is that except for the right to obtain subpoenas, parties generally do not have the right to obtain information from the opposing Party in advance of the hearing.
Attorneys can participate in the trial “to the extent and in the manner that the judge, in the judge’s discretion, deems helpful.”
Since the limits in conciliation court have been increased substantially, it is more important than ever to make sure that you properly prepare your case and that you are properly prepared to defend your case.
Our office can help you prepare your lawsuit or your defense or your counter-claim without attending court or we can attend court with you. Having your case well organized is an important part to success in conciliation court. Each side will only have a limited amount of time to present their case.
For more information about the conciliation court process click here.
Please feel free to contact us if you have a question about filing or defending a conciliation court claim.