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Minnesota Court Records

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Where to Find Minnesota Civil Court Records

Civil court records in the State of Minnesota are documents that contain information on court proceedings that arise from civil actions filed by individuals or institutions. Civil court records include docket sheets, statements, motions, presented evidence, and all other documents used in a civil court. In Minnesota, civil actions are mostly heard at the district courts. The office of the clerks of the court handles the management of civil court records, and interested persons may request for records in-person or via mail. Alternatively, the general public may obtain civil court records on third-party websites such as MinnesotaCourtRecords.us.

Are Minnesota Civil Court Records Public?

The Minnesota Data Practices Act guarantees that the public has access to public records including civil court records. However, confidential civil court records are restricted from public access. This may be on the order of the court or through a granted motion filed by an involved party. Confidential information that is not accessible to the public include records concerning minors, financial source documents, and other sensitive information.

Types of Cases in Minnesota Civil Courts

Cases heard in Minnesota civil courts are non-criminal litigation between individuals or private and public owned organizations. Civil litigation usually involves financial or property settlements. Types of civil cases that occur in Minnesota civil courts include:

  • Personal injury claims
  • Breach of contract
  • Real estate assessment appeal
  • Claims that involve rent issues
  • Employment discrimination
  • Minor settlement and child support
  • Product liability
  • Property damage
  • Welfare appeal
  • Some traffic citation cases, e.g., Review of driver's license revocation
  • Tort Cases
  • Bankruptcy
  • Small Claims

What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases in Minnesota?

Civil cases usually involve legal disputes between individuals or organizations, while in criminal cases, the state prosecutes defendants. Civil cases litigation centers on monetary issues, property disputes, and the approval or disapproval of certain actions. Criminal cases, on the other hand, have consequences that may involve loss of freedom due to incarceration or heavy fines. The severity of the consequences of criminal cases also requires the standard of evidence to be higher compared to that of civil cases.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records in Minnesota?

The clerks of court are the records custodians tasked with keeping and disseminating civil court records. The general public can access civil court records in-person, by requesting via U.S mail, or online.

To obtain civil court records in-person, requesters may visit the office of the clerk of the court where the case filing occurred. While most district courthouses provide public access terminals for persons to search for records, interested persons may also get records from the clerk's office by providing relevant information about the civil case to facilitate retrieval of requested records. Some clerks charge nominal fees for retrieval efforts and copying fees may apply. Locations of county courthouses may be accessed on the state's court directory. Interested persons may pick their desired county from the drop-down box and follow the procedures to retrieve records.

Requestors may also use the U.S mail to send written requests to the clerk's office. The written request must convey the information the custodian may require to retrieve desired civil court records. Requestors are to mail the written request to the clerk's office location. Charges may apply.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?

Interested persons may make use of platforms hosted on the Minnesota court website to find civil court records online. Some third-party websites also provide public access to records online. The Minnesota Public Access (MPA) Remote gives access to civil court records in the Minnesota Court Information System (MNCIS). The records contain information of cases heard in the Minnesota district courts. Requestors may search by case details, the personal details of the parties involved, or the personal details of their attorneys. Information required to search the MNCIS includes case number, date filings, names of parties involved, the attorney's name, and bar number.

The general public may also access civil cases heard at the Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals online via the Minnesota Appellate Courts Case Management System (P-MACS). Interested persons may search by the case number, case title, case status, and filing dates. Civil court information on the MPA and P-MACS are also maintained at the designated clerk's office. However, requestors do not have access to confidential records on the aforementioned online platforms.

What Is Included in a Minnesota Civil Court Record?

Some general information that comprises Minnesota civil court records include, but are not limited to:

  • Names and personal details of parties involved in the case
  • Description of the civil case
  • Evidence presented by the parties involves
  • Statement of witnesses
  • Case status
  • Transcripts of presented arguments
  • Documents containing details of settlements and agreements

How to Access Minnesota Civil Court Records For Free

Minnesota civil court records are free on electronic platforms. Interested persons may retrieve records for free on electronic public access terminals available at the courthouses. Online platforms such as the MNCIS and P-MACS provide the general public with free access to civil case information heard at all court levels. Records may be obtained by using the required information of the records to search on the electronic platforms.

How to Seal Civil Court Records in Minnesota

Minnesota court rules allow interested persons to file a motion to seal court records for specific reasons. The sealing of records implies that such records will be inaccessible for public access. A party in a civil case may file a motion to seal records at the court where the case hearing occurred. The state's court website provides a form that interested persons can fill and submit to the appropriate court. On its initiative, the court may also seal records that could cause undue problems for an involved party. However, access to sealed records isn't restricted to the moving party, the party's attorney, and persons granted access to sealed records by a court order.

How to Access Sealed Civil Court Records in Minnesota

Interested persons may access sealed civil court records by filing a petition to request access to confidential records at the court the civil case occurred. The moving party may fill the Request for Access to Confidential or Sealed Record court form with the required details and file it at the designated court. The state's court instructional document gives more information on the procedures to file a motion to access sealed civil court records. If the judge grants the request, the moving party may have access to the requested sealed record.

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