Court of Appeals Help Topics

The Minnesota Court of Appeals Help Topics answer some of the frequently asked questions about appeals and petitions to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Introduction

Under the laws of Minnesota and applicable court rules, some decisions of the district (trial) courts and of governmental agencies or bodies (such as city councils, school boards, and state departments) can be appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Not all decisions are appealable immediately; often a party must wait until the district court or governmental body has decided all issues in the same case or proceeding before an appeal can be filed.

If there is a right to appeal, the party who appeals usually must show that the district court judge or governmental decision-maker made errors of law that affected the decision and that the Court of Appeals should reverse (overturn) the decision or remand (send it back) to the district court judge or governmental decision-maker for more proceedings.

Appeals are usually very different from proceedings before a district court, an administrative agency, or a child-support magistrate. On appeal:
  • You must make all your arguments in writing.
  • You cannot present witnesses.
  • You cannot present new evidence.
You can make arguments only about issues that:
  • you raised in the district court or other proceeding, and
  • were decided (ruled on) by the judge or other decision-maker.
  • You usually cannot make new arguments on appeal.
Most appeals do not focus on whether the district judge or decision-maker correctly determined the facts of the case. Instead, most appeals focus on the legal issues and whether the judge or decision-maker correctly applied the law after deciding any factual disputes. You must conduct research to see whether the trial court made legal errors that the court of appeals can correct. Just because you are unhappy with the decision, or a decision contains some minor mistakes, that does not mean that it is legally wrong.

 

Stages of an Appeal

First Stage - Service and filing of appeal papers

To bring an appeal, the party who wants to challenge the decision must serve the appeal papers on the other parties, and file them with the Court of Appeals and the district court or governmental agency, before the deadline to appeal.  If the party filing the appeal does not meet the deadline for appeal, the Court of Appeals has no jurisdiction and cannot review the decision. The Court of Appeals cannot increase the time to serve and file a civil appeal, or extend the deadline for any reason.
 

Second Stage - Transcript and record preparation

After the documents to start the appeal are filed, the district court prepares the record of what happened in the district court or the government agency. The record includes exhibits and papers filed with the district court or government agency decision-maker, and may include a written record (a transcript) of testimony presented by witnesses and parties. After the record is prepared, it will be sent to the Court of Appeals to be reviewed in the appeal.

When the Court of Appeals is deciding an appeal, only the evidence presented to the district court or agency decision-maker will be considered; the Court of Appeals cannot consider any new evidence on appeal.
 

Third Stage - Briefing

The appellant must file a written argument (called a brief) with the Court and serve it on the other parties. 

After the appellant's brief is served and filed, the other parties to the appeal submit their written arguments, explaining why they think the Court of Appeals should affirm the decision.  After the other parties file their briefs, the appellant may also choose to file a reply brief.    
 

Fourth Stage - Nonoral conference or oral arguments

After the respondent’s brief has been filed (or after the time to file briefs has expired), the appeal is ready to be scheduled and assigned to a panel of three judges.  The appeal will be scheduled for either an oral argument or a nonoral conference:
 
  • Oral arguments may be scheduled for appeals where all parties have lawyers and where the lawyers request oral argument.  At oral argument, the attorneys appear before the three-judge panel to explain their arguments and answer the judges’ questions.  All oral arguments are open to the public.  The parties are welcome to attend the oral arguments to listen to what their lawyers say, but the parties themselves cannot testify or present arguments. After an oral argument, the judges will discuss the appeal in private and decide the outcome.
  • Appeals that are not scheduled for oral argument, including any appeals where either party does not have a lawyer, are scheduled for nonoral conference.  The date of the nonoral conference is when the three-judge panel will meet to discuss the appeal.  The parties and their lawyers cannot attend a nonoral conference. 
After the Court of Appeals schedules the appeal for oral argument or nonoral conference, the parties or their attorneys will receive a Notice of Oral Argument or Notice of Nonoral Conference, which will include (1) the date, time, and location of the oral argument or the date of the nonoral conference and (2) the names of the judges who are assigned to hear the appeal.  For most appeals, the parties receive the Notice of Oral Argument or Notice of Nonoral Conference within 1-2 months after the appeal becomes ready for scheduling. However, scheduling depends upon multiple factors, including the current case load before the Court of Appeals and the lawyers’ availability, so the time it takes to schedule an appeal can vary.

The date of the oral argument or nonoral conference is typically 1-2 months after the date the parties receive the Notice of Oral Argument or Notice of Nonoral Conference.  
 

Fifth and Final Stage - Decision

In most cases, a written decision (called an opinion) will be filed within 90 days after the date of the nonoral conference or the oral argument.  The opinion explains the reasons for the judges' decision on appeal. The Court of Appeals will not reconsider or rehear an appeal after the opinion has been filed. All decisions of the court are public information and are available free of charge. Appellate opinions are accessible on the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website and other Internet sources. After an opinion is filed, it cannot be removed from the Internet.

After an appeal has been decided, the party who won may be able to ask the Court to order the party that lost the appeal to pay the winning party’s costs and disbursements related to the appeal. The party who lost may petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to grant further review in the case, but there are additional fees, criteria for obtaining review, and time limits that apply to a petition for further review. You should look at Rule 117 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure for more information on that process.
 
Laws that Apply to Appeals
If you are representing yourself, you are responsible for researching court rules, caselaw, and statutes that govern your case and for evaluating whether there is any reason to appeal in your case. 

The following are some of the court rules that apply to appeals:
Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure
Special Rules of Practice for the Minnesota Court of Appeals

In addition, the Minnesota Court of Appeals provides the following reference materials regarding Minnesota Court of Appeals caselaw:  
The Minnesota Court of Appeals Standards of Review
The Minnesota Court of Appeals Special Term Opinion Subject Matter Index
Important Question: Do I need to discuss my appeal with an attorney?
You are strongly encouraged to discuss your appeal or petition with an attorney. These Help Topics are general guide to appellate procedures, but there are many different types of cases and many exceptions to the rules explained here. 

If you lose on appeal in a civil case, you may be ordered to pay the opposing party's costs and disbursements (such as brief printing and copying charges). If the Court finds that your appeal is frivolous, or was taken for improper purposes, such as harassment of another party, you could be ordered to pay double costs and/or attorney fees. It is important to consider these potential costs when deciding whether or not to file an appeal.

Court staff must be neutral and cannot give you legal advice about your case. This means that they cannot help you fill out papers, discuss the merits of your case, or tell you if you will win or lose. The information you get from this site or from your discussions with court staff cannot replace legal advice from an attorney. 

There are organizations that can help you find an attorney, including the Minnesota State Bar Association. The Minnesota State Law Library also provides various legal referrals and hosts monthly self-help clinics, at which you may be able to briefly discuss your case with a volunteer attorney.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch makes no endorsement or warranty of quality of services by linking to an outside organization from this website.
Costs of an Appeal
In most civil cases, the appealing party must pay a filing fee of $550.  In addition to the filing fee, there may be other costs of filing an appeal, including the cost of preparing the transcript and the cost of copying, printing, and binding paper copies of the brief.  For more information about fees and requesting waiver of fees, see What if I Can't Afford an Appeal? FAQs.
Calculating Deadlines for Appeals
Different types of appeals have different deadlines.  You should consult the court rules that apply to your type of appeal to determine how many days you have to file and serve documents in your appeal. 

To calculate the deadline for filing and serving documents, apply these rules:
  • Do not count the day of the event that starts the time period (for example, the date of filing of the district court's order; the date of service of the respondent's brief), but start counting the next day.
  • Continue counting calendar days. Do not skip weekends or legal holidays.
  • If the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the deadline is the next business day.

Court Holidays

The Record
The evidence used in the hearings before the district court judge is called “the record.” The evidence in the record is the only evidence that the Court of Appeals typically looks at in an appeal. 

The record might include a transcript of the hearing(s) before the district court judge.  A transcript is a typed copy of what all of the witnesses, parties, and the judge said at your hearing.  If a district court hearing was held in your case, you can order a transcript of the hearing.  A transcript is not automatically prepared unless it is requested.
How to Request a Transcript
In an appeal from a governmental agency's decision, the party bringing the appeal (the relator) should contact the agency to order the transcript.  The agency will coordinate preparation of the transcript.

In most appeals from district court, the appellant must ask the court reporter to prepare a transcript and must pay the court reporter to do so. If you don't know who the court reporter was or how to contact the court reporter, you can get help from district court administration for the county where your hearing took place.

Any party that orders a transcript must work with the court reporter or governmental agency to fill out and file a transcript certificate. This form tells the Court of Appeals that you have requested the transcript and will pay the court reporter (unless a judge has granted a fee waiver for this cost).  The certificate must include:
(1) The date that you requested the transcript from the court reporter
(2) An estimated date that the court reporter will complete the transcript, deliver it to the parties, and file it with the district court
(3) Your signature (if you are acting as your own attorney)
(4) The signature of the court reporter or agency representative.

The court reporter will prepare the transcript from notes or tape recordings. The court reporter will file and deliver the transcript electronically. A party may request a paper copy of the transcript from the reporter (for an additional cost), or a party may print a copy of the transcript that was delivered electronically.
Briefs
Your written argument on appeal is called a “brief.” The brief should describe what happened at the district court and explain why the Court of Appeals should reverse or remand the case.

The brief must include legal authorities (case citations, statutes, rules).  Every time the brief includes a statement of fact or argument, the brief should also refer to the parts of the transcript or record that support the statement of fact or argument.

You have three options for the format of your brief:
(1) Formal Brief: A formal brief includes a table of contents, a statement of the legal issues, a statement of the case and the facts, an argument, a conclusion, and an addendum. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.02. A formal brief must be bound in a specific way, and can’t just be stapled. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 132.01 (includes the Supreme Court’s order regarding acceptable types of binding).

(2) Informal Brief: An informal brief may be stapled and must include a written argument and addendum.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 1. Most applicants for unemployment benefits file informal briefs.

(3) Memorandum of Law and Short Letter Argument: If you gave a written Memorandum of Law to the ULJ, you may file that Memorandum as your brief, along with a short letter argument that addresses the ULJ’s decision. This may be stapled and must include an addendum. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 2.

The Minnesota State Law Library website has helpful information about writing briefs and example briefs you can read.
Motions: Time Extensions or Other Requests
If you cannot serve and file your brief by the deadline and you need more time, or if you want to make any other request of the court, you must serve and file a signed, written request asking the court for the relief you need.  This formal request is called a “motion.”

The motion must state (1) what you are requesting and (2) the reason(s) for that request. You must serve the written motion on the respondents and file proof of service for the motion. The requirements for a motion are found in Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 127 and specific instructions for requesting a briefing extension are found in Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 131.02. If you are requesting a deadline extension, your motion should be served and filed before the deadline you wish to extend.    
Note: the Court of Appeals cannot extend the deadline to serve and file the Notice of Appeal to start your appeal.

What is a Civil Appeal?

Under the laws of Minnesota and applicable court rules, some decisions of the district (trial) courts and of governmental agencies or bodies (such as city councils, school boards, and state departments) can be appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  A civil appeal is any appeal that does not originate from a criminal case.

If you lose on appeal in a civil case, you may be ordered to pay the opposing party's costs and disbursements (such as brief printing and copying charges). If the Court finds that your appeal is frivolous, or was taken for improper purposes such as harassment of another party, you could be ordered to pay double costs and/or attorney fees. It is important to consider these potential costs when deciding whether or not to file an appeal.

These Help Topics are a general guide to appellate procedures, but there are many different types of cases and many exceptions to the rules explained here. You are responsible for researching court rules, caselaw, and statutes that govern your case, and for evaluating whether there is any reason to appeal in your case.

For additional information applicable to civil appeals, including the stages of an appeal, how to calculate deadlines in an appeal, the record, the transcript, briefs, and motions, see the Overview tab.

For additional information about filing and serving documents in an appeal, see the Proof of Service tab.


 

Filing a Criminal Appeal (Generally)

​This tab will give you general guidance only for filing a criminal appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. If you were convicted of first-degree murder, you must file an appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court. You should carefully review this information, but you must also read the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure and, where applicable, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure. If you do not do so, you may miss a deadline or an important step, and you could lose your opportunity to appeal.


Time to Appeal

There are different filing deadlines for different types of criminal appeals. In general, a criminal defendant has 90 days after sentencing to appeal a felony or gross misdemeanor sentence or conviction, 30 days to appeal a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor case, and 60 days to appeal an order denying a postconviction petition.

You must read rule 28.02, subdivision 4(3) of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure (abbreviated "Minn. R. Crim. P.") to confirm the deadline that applies to your appeal.

The Court of Appeals may extend the time for a defendant to appeal in a criminal case for up to 30 days, but you must make a motion and show "good cause" to get an extension. No extension period is available if you are filing a sentencing or probation revocation appeal under Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.05.

To figure out the deadline for filing and serving documents, apply these rules:
  • Do not count the day of the event that starts the time period (the date of filing of the district court's order; the date of service of the respondent's brief), but start counting the next day.
  • Continue counting calendar days. Do not skip weekends or legal holidays.
  • If the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the deadline is the next business day.
Court Holidays


Eligibility for Public Defender

If you had a previous appeal involving the same felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor conviction, and you were represented by an attorney from the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender in that appeal, you may not be entitled to an appointed attorney for any subsequent appeal. See Minn. Stat. § 611.25, subd. 1(a)(2). If this is your first appeal on this conviction, and you meet certain financial eligiblity requirements, you may be entitled to a public defender on appeal.

You must apply to:

Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender
540 Fairview Avenue North, Suite 300
St. Paul, MN  55104
(651) 201-6700

In some cases, the appellate public defender's office may pay for the preparation of a transcript, even if the office does not have to provide you with an attorney on appeal. You should contact that office for more information.
 

The Parties

You, as the appealing party, are called the appellant. The other party in a criminal appeal is the State of Minnesota and is called the respondent. The State of Minnesota is represented by the county attorney and the Minnesota Attorney General.
 

Filing Fees

Criminal appeals require you to pay a $550 filing fee to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, but the filing fee will be waived if the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender has determined that you are indigent. A defendant who is indigent must apply to the appellate public defender, who will evaluate the defendant's financial resources and eligiblity. However, no filing fees are required to file a postconviction appeal under Minn. Stat. § 590.06.
 

Briefs

The brief is your written argument on appeal. You must file five copies of your brief with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts (four bound and one unbound) and serve two copies on respondent's attorneys. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 131.03.

You must also file proof of service for the brief with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts (see the Proof of Service tab for more information).

If you ordered transcripts of the district court proceedings, in most criminal appeals you must serve and file your appellant's brief within 63 days after the date that the court reporter mailed the transcript to you. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 10; Minn. R. Crim. P. 34.04. If no transcript was ordered and prepared for the appeal, then you must serve and file your brief within 60 days of filing the notice of appeal. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 10. The Court will not remind you of this deadline.

The appellant must file a brief explaining why the district court's decision should be reversed, or the appeal will be dismissed. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 142.02.

There are three types of briefs:
  • a formal brief, which must be bound and include a table of contents, a statement of the legal issues, a statement of the case and the facts, an argument, a conclusion, and an addendum (see Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.02, Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02);
  • an informal brief, which may be stapled and includes a written argument and addendum (see Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 1); or
  • a short letter argument that supplements written arugments submitted to the district court.  This type of brief can be used only when written arguments were filed in the district court in support of the postconviction petition. When it is used, it may be stapled (not formally bound by a printer), and it must include an addendum (see Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 2).
Many pro se postconviction appellants file an informal brief. Every appellant's brief, no matter what form used, must include an addendum. The addendum must include, at the least, a copy of the district court order being appealed. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02.

A sentencing or probation revocation appeal, however, has very short briefing deadlines and requires you to file an informal sentencing or probation revocation brief. You should review Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.05.


Additional Information about Criminal Appeals

For additional information applicable to criminal appeals, including the stages of an appeal, the record, the transcript, and motions, see the Overview tab.

For additional information about filing and serving documents in an appeal, see the Proof of Service tab.
 

Questions?

Clerk of the Appellate Courts
305 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN  55155
(651) 296-2581
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

NOTE: The Clerk's Office can answer questions about the Court's procedures and rules, but cannot fill out the forms for you or give you any legal advice about your case.

Filing a Postconviction Appeal


This tab will explain how you can file an appeal from a district court order denying a postconviction petition. You should carefully review this information and complete every step.

Postconviction Appeal Packet and Checklist

NOTE: This page only covers postconviction appeals to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. If you were convicted of first-degree murder and are appealing an order denying postconviction relief from that conviction, you must file an appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court. If you are filing any other type of criminal appeal, see the tab on this page entitled "Criminal Appeal."
 

Time to Appeal

In general, you have 60 days to appeal to the Court of Appeals after the district court files an order denying a petition for postconviction relief. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 4(3)(c). Appeals to the Court of Appeals in other types of criminal cases, including direct appeals of felony or misdemeanor convictions, have very different filing deadlines. You must read rule 28.02, subdivision 4(3) of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure (abbreviated "Minn. R. Crim. P.") to confirm the deadline that applies to your appeal. 

Your appeal time begins to run on the date that the district court administrator files the order; not when you receive a copy of the order. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 33.03. The Court of Appeals can extend the appeal deadline for up to 30 additional days, but you must make a motion for an extension, and you must show "good cause" to get an extension. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 4(3)(g).

To figure out the deadline for filing and serving documents, apply these rules:
  • Do not count the day of the event that starts the time period (the date of filing of the district court's order; the date of service of the respondent's brief), but start counting the next day.
  • Continue counting calendar days. Do not skip weekends or legal holidays.
  • If the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the deadline is the next business day.

Court Holidays

 

Eligibility for Public Defender

If you had a previous appeal involving the same conviction, and you were represented by an attorney from the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender in that appeal, you may not be entitled to an appointed attorney for postconviction proceedings. See Minn. Stat. § 611.25, subd. 1(a)(2). If this is your first appeal on this conviction, and you meet certain financial eligibility reuqirements, you may be entitled to a public defender on appeal. You must apply to:

Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender
540 Fairview Avenue North, Suite 300
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 201-6700
 

The Parties

You, as the appealing party, are called the appellant. The other party in a postconviction appeal is the State of Minnesota and is called the respondent. The State of Minnesota is represented by the county attorney and the Minnesota Attorney General. The title of a postconviction appeal is as follows: "(Your name), petitioner, Appellant, vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent."
 

Filing Fees

No filing fees are required to file a postconviction appeal under Minn. Stat. § 590.06.
 

Briefs

The brief is your written argument on appeal. You must file five copies of your brief with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts (four bound and one unbound) and serve two copies on the attorneys for each respondent. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 131.03.

You must also file proof of service for the brief with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts. (See "service" and "proof of service" above.) 

If you received an evidentiary hearing in the district court on your postconviction petition and ordered a transcript of that hearing, you must serve and file your appellant's brief within 63 days after the date that the court reporter mailed the transcript to you. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 10; Minn. R. Crim. P. 34.04. If you did not have an evidentiary hearing in the district court and no transcript will be prepared for appeal, then you must serve and file your brief within 60 days of filing the notice of appeal. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 10. The court will not remind you of this deadline.

The appellant must file a brief explaining why the district court's decision should be reversed, or the appeal will be dismissed. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 142.02.

There are three types of briefs:
  • a formal brief, which must be bound and include a table of contents, a statement of the legal issues, a statement of the case and the facts, an argument, a conclusion, and an addendum (see Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.02, Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02);
  • an informal brief, which may be stapled, and includes a written argument and addendum (see Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 1); or
  • a short letter argument that supplements written arguments submitted to the district court. This type of brief can be used only when written arguments were filed in the district court in support of the postconviction petition. When it is used, it may be stapled (not formally bound by a printer), and it must include an addendum (see Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 2).
Many pro se postconviction appellants file an informal brief. Every appellant's brief, no matter what form used, must include an addendum. The addendum must include, at the least, a copy of the district court order being appealed. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02. 
 


Additional Information about Criminal Appeals

For additional information applicable to postconviction appeals, including the stages of an appeal, the record, the transcript, and motions, see the Overview tab.

For additional information about filing and serving documents in an appeal, see the Proof of Service tab.


Questions?

Clerk of the Appellate Courts
305 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-2581
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

NOTE: The Clerk's Office can answer questions about the Court's procedures and rules, but cannot fill out the forms for you or give you any legal advice about your case.

Filing an Eviction Appeal

If the district court has entered judgment in an eviction case against you, you can appeal your eviction in the Court of Appeals.  The party who files an eviction appeal is called the “appellant.” The party or parties who won in the district court are called the “respondent” or “respondents.” This tab will help parties without an attorney understand how to appeal an eviction judgment.

In addition to the information in this tab, the Eviction Appeal Packet and Checklist includes forms and instructions for filing your appeal.  If you choose to file an appeal without an attorney, it is important that you read all of the instructions carefully before you try to appeal, and that you fill out the forms completely. 
 

Steps of the Eviction Process

In an eviction proceeding, the only decision that can be appealed is the eviction "judgment" entered by the court administrator, after the judge has ruled on the case. No appeal can be taken from the judge’s "order for judgment." No appeal can be taken from the "writ of recovery of the premises and order to vacate" issued to the sheriff. These steps of the eviction process are described in more detail below.

Order for Judgment
An order for judgment is the judge’s written decision telling the court administrator to enter a judgment in the eviction case.  The order for judgment is not appealable, but the Court of Appeals will review the order for judgment if you serve and file a timely appeal from the judgment once it has been entered.

Entry of Judgment
After the district judge issues an order deciding the eviction case, the court administrator will enter a judgment. To enter judgment, the court administrator may prepare a separate document titled “judgment” or “judgment roll,” or the court administrator may add a sentence to the order, after the judge’s signature, that says something like: “The above conclusions of law and order constitute the judgment of the court.”  The court administrator will sign and date this statement (or the separate judgment document) and will record this action.  It is this action which constitutes entry of the judgment.

The order for judgment from the judge is not appealable; once the court administrator enters judgment, that judgment is appealable.

Writ of Recovery of the Premises
Once judgment is entered, the next step is for the district court to issue a "writ of recovery of the premises and order to vacate" (often referred to as “the writ of recovery” or just “the writ”).  The writ authorizes the sheriff or other officials to remove the occupant(s) from the property. The writ cannot be issued until the judge issues an order and the court administrator enters a judgment.

The appeal must be taken from the judgment; not from the writ of recovery, and not from the judge’s order.

Notice of Appeal
The notice of appeal is the document that an appellant files with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts and the court administrator in the district court, and also serves on each respondent, to start the appeal process.
 

Deadline to Appeal an Eviction

To appeal an eviction judgment, you must:
  • file a notice of appeal form with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts within 15 days of the date that the district court administrator entered a judgment on the eviction order, and
  • serve the notice of appeal on the attorneys for the respondents (or on the respondents themselves, if the respondents do not have an attorney) within that 15-day period.
If you do not file a notice of appeal with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts regarding the eviction judgment within 15 days of the date that the court administrator in the district entered judgment in the case, your appeal will be dismissed. If you do not serve the notice of appeal on the attorneys for each of the respondents (or on the respondents themselves, if the respondents do not have an attorney) within 15 days after the court administrator entered the judgment, your appeal will be dismissed.

The 15-day appeal period starts to run when the district court enters the eviction judgment whether or not you are notified of the judgmentThe Court of Appeals cannot extend the time to serve and file an eviction appeal, no matter how good the reasons for doing so. 
 

Filing Fees

The appellant in an eviction matter must either:
  • pay a $550 filing fee to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts; or
  • obtain an order from the district court waiving the filing fee.  An order waiving the filing fee is sometimes referred to as an order granting the appellant permission to proceed on appeal “in forma pauperis,” or as an order granting permission to proceed “IFP.”
See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.01, subd. 1; 109 (filing fee, in forma pauperis motions).
If you make a motion and qualify, the judge whose decision you are appealing can waive the filing fee. For additional information about filing fees and requesting a waiver of fees, see What if I Can't Afford an Appeal? FAQs
 

Options for Stopping Eviction During your Appeal

Filing an appeal does not automatically stay enforcement of an eviction judgment, and it does not automatically stay enforcement of the writ of recovery.

If an appellant in an eviction proceeding wants to remain in or at the property while the appeal is being decided, the appellant must make a motion in the district court to stay enforcement of the judgment.

If the appellant makes a motion in the district court for a stay, the district court will decide whether to grant the stay and on what conditions.  Often the district court will require the appellant to continue paying rent or other amounts while the appeal is being decided.  Note that even when an appellant is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal, if that appellant asks to stay on the property while the appeal is pending, the district court can still require that appellant to pay rent or other amounts (usually to the landlord or the district court) while the appeal is pending.  If the appellant does not satisfy the conditions set by the district court for the stay, the appellant can be evicted even though an appeal is pending, and even though the appellant has been granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis in that appeal.

If any party thinks that the district court improperly decided the question of whether to grant a stay, or incorrectly set the conditions for a stay, that party may file a motion with the court of appeals (and serve the motion on the other parties to the appeal) seeking relief from the district court’s decision regarding the stay.  

The motion should be accompanied by:
  • a copy of the district court’s order addressing the stay question;
  • a memorandum explaining why the party believes he or she is entitled to a different decision; and
  • copies of all documents that the parties submitted to the district court regarding the request for a stay.
If additional facts are necessary for the court of appeals to fully understand the challenge to the district court’s stay decision, those facts should be submitted to the court of appeals in the form of an affidavit, keeping in mind that the court of appeals generally does not consider evidence or arguments that were not first presented to the district court.

A response to a motion challenging a district court decision regarding a stay pending appeal must be served and filed within five days after service of the motion.  Any reply in support of the motion must be served and filed by the moving party within three days after service of the response. 

The court of appeals usually decides a motion challenging a district court’s decision on a request for a stay pending appeal soon after a response is received.

If an appellant is being evicted soon, and the district court has denied a stay pending appeal (or set conditions for a stay pending appeal that the appellant cannot satisfy), an appellant who has filed a motion in the court of appeals challenging the district court’s stay decision should ask the district court for a temporary stay, so the court of appeals can decide the appellant’s motion for relief.  The district court’s ruling on a request for a temporary stay can also be reviewed by the court of appeals.

The parties may be able to reach an agreement for the occupant to remain on the property while the appeal is pending.  For example, the parties might agree that the sheriff will not enforce the writ of recovery for several days to allow the parties to make a motion for a stay in the district court and to seek review from the court of appeals, if needed.  Be sure to tell the court of appeals about any such agreement if you file a motion for a stay.

Even if a writ of recovery has been issued by the court administrator, the sheriff may have other duties that will delay enforcement of the writ in a particular case.  Be sure to give the court of appeals any information you have about when the sheriff is scheduled to enforce the writ if you file a motion for a stay.
 

Additional Information Relevant to Eviction Appeals

For definitions of other terms related to eviction proceedings, consult Minn. Stat. § 504B.001.

For further information about eviction appeals, please review Minn. Stat. § 504B.371 and the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure (abbreviated “Minn. R. Civ. App. P.”).

For additional information applicable to eviction appeals, including the stages of an appeal, how to calculate deadlines in an appeal, the record, the transcript, briefs, and motions, see the Overview tab.

For additional information about filing and serving documents in an appeal, see the Proof of Service tab.

Filing an Unemployment Benefits Appeal

If you received a final decision from an Unemployment Law Judge (ULJ) denying you unemployment benefits, you can appeal that decision to the Court of Appeals. 

Before you appeal to the Court of Appeals, you must request reconsideration of the Unemployment Law Judge's (ULJ) initial decision before the deadline for that request.  The ULJ's initial decision included instructions for requesting reconsideration.  The ULJ's "ruling on a request for reconsideration" is the final decision that you can appeal to the Court of Appeals. 

The Unemployment Appeal Packet includes forms and instructions for filing your appeal.  If you choose to file an appeal without an attorney, it is important that you read all of the instructions carefully before you try to appeal, and that you fill out the forms completely. 

The Minnesota State Law Library also hosts an Unemployment Appeal Legal Advice Clinic, where you can get free legal advice about your case from a volunteer attorney or get help filling out forms.  To sign up for the Unemployment Appeal Legal Advice Clinic, call (651) 297-7651.  
 
Deadline to Appeal an Unemployment Benefits Decision
You have 30 days to appeal from the time the ULJ’s ruling on the request for reconsideration was sent to you.  If the ULJ’s decision was mailed to you, you have an extra three days (33 days from the mailing date) to appeal.  For additional instructions on calculating deadlines in your appeal, see the Overview tab.
Filing Fees
An applicant appealing the denial of unemployment benefits does not have to pay a filing fee. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subds. 6(b), 7(c).
Petition for Writ of Certiorari…
A copy of each form you need to fill out for this appeal is included at the end of the Unemployment Appeal Packet.  The three main forms you will need to file to start your appeal are called "petition for writ of certiorari," "writ of certiorari," and "statement of the case."

The forms will ask for the names of the "relator" and the "respondents."  The party who files the unemployment appeal is called the “relator.” The other parties are called the “respondents.” In an unemployment appeal, the respondents include
(1) the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and
(2) the employer (if any).  

The "petition for a writ of certiorari" tells the court and the respondents that you want to appeal the ULJ’s decision.
 
The "writ of certiorari" is a form that the clerk’s office will sign and give back to you; once signed, it is called an “issued writ.” The writ tells DEED to send your records to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts so that the court of appeals can review them for the appeal.
 
The "statement of the case" is a form in which you briefly summarize the reasons you think the ULJ's decision was incorrect.
The Record and Transcript
The record is the evidence used in the hearing before the ULJ and, if you asked for a new hearing in your request for reconsideration, any new evidence accepted at that hearing. The evidence in the record is the only evidence that the Court of Appeals typically looks at in an appeal. 

If testimony was given at the hearing(s), DEED will prepare a transcript of the audiotape of the hearing free of charge.  A transcript is a typed copy of what all of the parties and the ULJ said at your hearing. 

DEED is required to serve an itemized list of the contents of the record on you and your former employer.  DEED must serve this list on you within 30 days after DEED was served with the Petition for Writ of Certiorari, or within 14 days after the transcript is delivered to the Court of Appeals, whichever is later. If you request it, DEED will also send you a copy of all exhibits in the record, free of charge.

In an unemployment appeal, your brief is due 30 days after DEED serves you with the itemized list of the contents of the record.  If DEED serves the itemized list by mail, then you have 33 days after the date that the list was mailed to file and serve your brief.  
Additional Information Relevant to Unemployment Appeals
For additional information applicable to eviction appeals, including the stages of an appeal, how to calculate deadlines in an appeal, the record, the transcript, briefs, and motions, see the Overview tab.

For additional information about filing and serving documents in an appeal, see the Proof of Service tab.
Filing

“Filing” means giving documents to the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts.  Parties without an attorney may file documents by any of the following three methods:

  •  By hand-delivering them to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts during business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays),

  • By mailing the documents to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, addressed to:

    Clerk of the Appellate Courts
    305 Minnesota Judicial Center
    25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
    St. Paul, MN 55155

    For filing by postal mail, a document will be considered timely if it is deposited in the U.S. Mail by the deadline with correct postage and the correct address, even though the Clerk’s Office will not receive the document on the day you deposit it in the mail.

  • By submitting them electronically through the appellate courts’ e-filing system, E-MACS.  Parties who do not have an attorney are not required to use E-MACS, but they are allowed to do so (Note: All attorneys are required to use E-MACS and cannot file documents by mail or by hand-delivery to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts).

    For information about electronic filing and to submit documents electronically, go to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts’ webpage. Filing by facsimile (fax) or other electronic means currently is not allowed.

Service
Any time you submit a document to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts for filing, a copy must also be provided to all other parties at or before the time of filing. This is called “service.”
 
If a party has an attorney, you must serve the attorney rather than the party.  If a party does not have an attorney, you may serve that party directly. 
 
There are three methods of service:
  • In person ("personal service"), by having another person hand-deliver the document.  The person who hand-delivers the document must be 18 years or older and not a party to the appeal.  You cannot serve the documents in person yourself.
  • By mail, by depositing the documents, correctly addressed, in the U.S. Mail, with adequate first-class postage.  You can serve appellate-court documents by mail yourself.
  • Electronically: If you choose to file electronically using the appellate courts' e-filing system, E-MACS, you can serve the respondents electronically as well, if the respondents are registered in E-MACS.  Information about electronic service can be found on the Clerk of the Appellate Courts’ webpage.
If the recipient consents to another method of delivery, such as email or fax, you could also use that method for service.  
 
No matter what method of service you use, you must also submit proof of service to the Clerk’s Office.
 
Proof of Service
Every document submitted to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts for filing must be accompanied by a form stating that the document was served on the other parties to the appeal.  This is called “proof of service.”

If you use E-MACS to serve papers on the other parties or attorneys to the appeal, no separate proof of service is required, because the Clerk of the Appellate Courts will receive information about service along with the e-filing.  If you serve papers in person, by postal mail, or by another delivery method (with the consent of the recipient), separate proof of service is required. 

Usually, proof of service is (1) a notarized Affidavit of Service or (2) a Certificate of Service.  A less frequently used third option for proof of service is a written admission by the person who was served, stating that the document was received. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.04.
 
The person who served the document in person or by mail must complete the Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, which must include a description of the documents that were served, the date and time of service, the method of service (by mail, in person, or other method with consent), the name of the person who was served, and the address to which any documents served by mail were sent.  The affidavit or certificate of service must be signed by the person who served the documents. 
 
Affidavit of Service. An affidavit of service must be signed in front of a notary by the person who served the document. The notary must also sign and date the document. Notary services are available at many financial institutions for a small fee. The Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts will notarize an affidavit of service at no charge.
 
Certificate of Service. A certificate of service does not need to be notarized. A certificate of service must contain a statement by the person who signs the certificate that the person declares under penalty of perjury that everything stated in the document is true and correct. The certificate must show the date of signing and the county and state where the certificate was signed.  A form certificate of service is attached to this packet.
 
Affidavit of Service by U.S. Mail Delivery
Affidavit of Service by Personal Delivery
Certificate of Service by U.S. Mail Delivery
Certificate of Service by Personal Delivery

Be sure to make extra copies of the certificate/affidavit of service form(s) so you can submit one with every document you submit for filing.  You may file one Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service listing multiple documents if you serve those documents on the same date and on the same parties.
Family Law Appellate Mediation Program Overview

The Minnesota Court of Appeals Family Law Appellate Mediation Program is structured to reinforce and work cooperatively with the early-neutral-evaluation and other alternative-dispute processes in the district courts.

Referral to mediation takes place after the statement of the case has been filed and the filing fee has been paid, but occurs before the briefing stage and before litigants incur the substantial costs of ordering transcripts from the district court where the case originated. 

Although the mediation involves a cost, which is shared by the appellant and the respondent, our research shows that appellate family-law mediation has a great potential to save litigants significant time and money.