Ramsey Civil Division

The Civil Division includes Conciliation Court, Housing Court, Probate Court, Civil Commitment Court, and offices for Civil Case Filing, Scheduling (Assignment) and Civil Records.

Related Legal Topics:

Civil Filing

15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 600
St Paul MN 55102
(651) 266-8253
Civil Filing processes all civil court cases, subsequent documents, administrative defaults and orders filed in the Second Judicial District. It also answers queries regarding Condemnation Proceedings. Civil Filing does not accept Conciliation Court or Housing Court filings.
 

Conciliation Court

15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 170
St Paul MN 55102
(651) 266-8230
Conciliation Court is sometimes called Small Claims Court and handles claims of $15,000.00 or less. Conciliation Court allows people to bring claims to court in a simple, uncomplicated venue without the need for an attorney.
 

Civil Commitment Court

402 University Ave E, Suite 100
St Paul MN 55130
(651) 266-2804    
The Civil Commitment Court office processes and maintains petitions for Judicial Commitment filed in Ramsey County. The Civil Commitment Office is located on University Avenue near the Ramsey County Jail/Law Enforcement Center
 

Housing Court

15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 170
St Paul MN 55102
(651) 266-8230
Landlord and tenant issues regarding residential property are handled in Housing Court. These disputes often result in an action for eviction or unlawful detainer. This Court also handles tenant’s actions for rent escrow, unlawful lockout and other tenant remedies. Housing Court ensures housing claims are brought before a single, trained referee. This is to encourage consistent decisions and prompt compliance with Minnesota's housing laws.
 

Probate Court

15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 650
St Paul MN 55102
(651) 266-8145    
Probate Court processes Estates, TrustsGuardianships and Conservatorships. Probate Court has jurisdiction over cases concerning the disposition of property belonging to deceased persons, administration of court-supervised trusts, proceedings to create guardianships and conservatorships for minor children, incapacitated or incompetent adults, and civil commitment proceedings. The Probate Division is located on the Sixth Floor of the Ramsey County Courthouse.
 

Civil Records

15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 650
St Paul MN 55102
(651) 266-8237
The Civil Records office maintains the records, documents and exhibits for each case filed in the Civil Courts of Ramsey County.
 

Civil Assignment

15 W Kellogg Blvd, Room 600
St. Paul MN 55119
(651) 266-8253 option #5
The Civil Assignment office is responsible for the scheduling of hearings and trials of cases assigned to those judges serving as members of the civil team bench.
 
*Examiner of Titles        
The Examiner of Titles Office is part of the Property Records and Revenue Services Department of Ramsey County. For more information visit the Examiner of Titles on the Ramsey County web site.

While the Civil Division is composed of many sub-units, including Conciliation, Housing, Probate, and Committment Courts, the main work of the division is to accept Civil lawsuit filings.  Most people who are involved in Civil suits are represented by an attorney, but it is not a requirement.

Please contact our office with questions and requests or navigate to one of the links in the right-hand side of this page.

Address:
Ramsey County Courthouse
15 W. Kellogg Blvd.
Room 600
St. Paul, MN  55102

Phone: (651) 266-8253

Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
 

Civil Assignment is responsible for all scheduling and general case management of major civil cases. In addition, implied consent cases are scheduled and monitored by Civil Assignment. If your case is assigned to one of the Civil Judges and you wish to schedule a hearing or motion, please call the appropriate telephone number listed below:
 
Hon. William H. Leary III, Presiding Judge               
(651) 266-8307

Hon. Robert A. Awsumb
(651) 266-8308

Hon. Shawn M. Bartsh
(651) 266-8306


Hon. John H. Guthmann              
(651) 266-8306

Hon. David C. Higgs
(651) 266-8145

Hon. Lezlie O. Marek
(651) 266-8308

Hon. Margaret M. Marrinan
(651) 266-8309

Hon. George T. Stephenson
(651) 266-8145

Implied Consent cases
(651) 266-8309

The Civil Assignment Office is located at the following address:

Room 600 Ramsey County Courthouse
15 West Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
Mary Jo Maxwell
Civil Assignment Operations Supervisor
 

Special Term Motions

If you wish to schedule a motion to be heard before a referee in a case that has been filed in District Court but has not been assigned to a civil judge, please call (651) 266-8248 and a court clerk will assist you.

Conciliation Court, sometimes called Small Claims Court, was established by Minnesota Statute 491A.01 to allow citizens to bring their legal claims to court without expensive costs or complicated legal procedures.

The limit for a claim in Conciliation Court is $15,000.00. If you wish to claim more than that you must file your claim in Civil Division of the Second Judicial District.

The Second Judicial District is pleased to offer a legal clinic to assist unrepresented parties prepare and file matters in Conciliation Court.  Volunteer attorneys and law students are available for brief consultation meetings every Tuesday afternoon from 1 to 4PM.  Please click here to learn more about the Housing and Conciliation Clinic.

The Civil Commitment Court has the obligation of committing persons to treatment centers with the allegation of Mental Illness, Developmental Disabilty, Chemical Dependency, Psychopathic Personality and referrals from Criminal Court. The civil commitment process is governed by Minnesota Statutes 253B.

Types of Commitments

The six types of civil commitment proceedings are:
  • Mentally Ill persons (MI) - Persons that are mentally ill and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others;
  • Developmentally Disabled persons (DD) - Persons that are developmentally disabled and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others;
  • Chemically Dependent persons (CD) - Persons that are chemically dependent, unable to manage personal affairs, and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others;
  • Persons Mentally Ill and Dangerous to the Public (MI&D) - Persons that are mentally ill and as a result, have caused or intended to cause serious physical harm to another and are likely to take such action in the future;
  • Sexual Psychopathic Personalities (SPP) - Persons who have an utter lack of power to control their sexual impulses as the result of a mental disorder and therefore pose a danger to the public;
  • Sexually Dangerous Persons (SDP) - Persons who have a mental disorder who have engaged in and are likely to continue to engage in harmful sexual conduct.

Petition Process

The civil commitment process begins with a request to file a petition for commitment. Generally, either a family member or the treating hospital serves as the petitioner. The petitioner requests that the patient be placed involuntarily under the care and supervision of a hospital or regional treatment center because of one of the six reasons discussed above.

This request for petition and all of the attachments that describe the patient's recent behavior and reasons supporting commitment are forwarded to the County pre-petition screening team. This team reviews the petition, investigates the allegations, interviews the patient and other interested persons and reviews the patient's records.

After collecting and reviewing all relevant information, the team determines whether to continue the commitment process. If the team rejects the petition, it is sent back to the petitioner who may appeal this decision directly to the County Attorney's Office. If the team recommends commitment, it drafts a report summarizing all of its investigations and submits this to the Civil Commitment Unit of the County Attorney's Office.

An Assistant County Attorney reviews the petition, all the attachments, and the pre-petition screening report to insure that all of the requirements necessary for a valid commitment are met and that there is sufficient evidence to prove the underlying behaviors and that commitment is the least restrictive alternative available to the patient. If the County Attorney's Office approves the petition, the matter is set for a pretrial hearing.

Once a petition is filed for the commitment of a patient, an attorney is selected from a pre-appointed panel to represent the patient throughout the commitment process. The patient also has the option of hiring their own private attorney. This attorney is an advocate for the patient's interests and informs the patient about the commitment process and the law.


Court Process

The court process consists of three statutorily required hearings, beginning with the preliminary hearing. This hearing provides an opportunity for a voluntary agreement to be entered into by all the parties that may eliminate the need for further hearings. If a settlement is not reached, the court determines whether the patient presents an imminent danger to himself or others. If the court finds that there is an imminent danger, the patient is held in a secure facility.

The court then appoints an examiner and the patient may select a second examiner to conduct a pre-hearing examination. These licensed professionals examine the patient and submit reports to the court with their recommendations concerning commitment. These examinations are independent of those done by the staff at the treating hospital.

After completing the above examinations, the case is heard by a judge in a full judicial hearing. The petitioner, through their counsel the County Attorney, calls witnesses and submits evidence showing that all of the requirements for commitment have been satisfactorily met. The patient is then allowed to submit evidence to show that he or she does not meet the conditions necessary for commitment, or that there is a less restrictive alternative available for them.

The judge then makes a determination, based on all of the evidence, regarding the level of treatment needed by the patient. The judge may dismiss the petition completely or may structure a treatment plan that the patient agrees to comply with. If necessary, the court may commit the patient to a treating hospital under the care and supervision of the court and the hospital. In extreme cases, the court may even order a patient to receive medications that the patient does not wish to receive. This only occurs after a separate hearing is held to determine that this action is appropriate. This hearing is often known as a Jarvis hearing.

Most patients are committed to either a public or private hospital for treatment with the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center serving as a back-up location. Most initial commitment periods cannot exceed six months. After six months, the court is required to review the matter following a full trial hearing, and decide whether to extend the commitment up to a maximum of twelve months. However, in cases involving Mentally Ill and Dangerous Persons, Sexual Psychopathic Personalities, or Sexually Dangerous Persons, commitment is of an indefinite duration. Periodic reviews are conducted by the court to determine whether the initial commitment remains valid.

Housing Court in Ramsey County hears and decides civil cases related to residential rental housing under Minnesota Statute 504B and criminal cases related to housing code enforcement.  This includes, for example, claims for rent abatement, rent escrow proceedings, eviction actions, and actions for violation of state, county, or city housing codes.  Housing Court ensures housing claims are brought before a single, trained referee.  This is to encourage consistent decisions and prompt compliance with Minnesota's housing laws.

Ramsey County District Court appoints a referee to hold hearings and make recommended decisions.  After the hearing in each case, the referee's recommended findings and orders are sent to a district court judge.  These become the findings and order of the court when confirmed by the district judge.  The landlord or tenant may ask the district court judge to review any order or finding recommended by the referee.  The person who is requesting the review must file and serve (provide to the other party) a notice of the recommended order or finding within 10 days of the order.  This notice must explain the reasons for requesting a review and state the specific parts of the recommended findings or orders that are disputed.  After receiving this notice, a time for the review hearing may be set.  Upon review of the request, the court record, the referee's recommendation, and testimony (if a hearing was required), the judge will decide whether to accept, reject or change the referee's recommended decision.

Ramsey County landlords and tenants are encouraged to use the Housing Court to resolve housing related disputes that they cannot work out themselves.

Free Legal Clinic to assist unrepresented parties prepare and file matters in Housing Court

Volunteer attorneys and law students are available for brief consultation meetings every Tuesday afternoon from 1 to 4PM. The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF), Ramsey County District Court, and the Ramsey County Law Library are collaborating to offer a pro bono clinic in the Ramsey County Law Library on the 18th floor of the Ramsey County Court House.
For more information, visit the Ramsey County Law Library Site or review their Housing and Conciliation Clinic handout.

 

The Second Judicial District's Probate Court has jurisdiction over cases concerning the disposition of property belonging to deceased persons, administration of court-supervised trusts, proceedings to create guardianships and conservatorships for minor children, incapacitated or incompetent adults, and civil commitment proceedings. Find Second Judicial District Court Probate Forms

Probate law is based on the ecclesiastical law of the church and historically this court was known as the "widows and orphans court." The Probate Court now operates under a modification of the Uniform Probate Code, specifically Minnesota Statutes 524 and 525, the Rules of Civil Procedure, and the General Rules of Practice, Title V. Probate Rules.
 
Probate Court is part of the Civil Division of the Second Judicial District and is located on the sixth floor of the Ramsey County Courthouse.
Probate Court, Civil Division
650 Courthouse
15 West Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55102-1612
 
Phone: (651) 266-8145
Fax: (651) 266-8149
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Closed Legal Holidays

Civil Court Records Contact

Records Information: (651) 266-8237
Records Supervisor: (651) 266-8244
Records Fax: (651) 266-8263
We are responsible for maintaining all Civil Court files; over 13,000 cases are filed each year.
Public Access to Case Docket/Register of Actions

Vital Records

Civil Records does not have birth or death records. These records are available from the Vital Records Office of the Ramsey County Department of Health.

Access to Civil Files

Civil files are available for viewing on our internal court imaging system. Some cases are sealed and not available for viewing.
Files 1897 - 2011 are available on microfilm or imaging at:
15 West Kellogg Boulevard, Room 650
St. Paul, MN 55102.

Copy Fees

  • Certified document - $16.00.
  • ​Plain document - $10.00.

Copy Request

Any request for Copies can be made via phone or mail. The copies can be reproduced via hard copy or attached to an email. Only copies for the years 1988 to the Present are available to be emailed. Any copy sent via email should be opened using Windows Picture Fax Viewer after it has been saved to the user's desktop. Mail request to Civil Records, Room 650 at 15 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul ,MN 55102.

Records Prior to 1897

State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves Ramsey County civil case files (file nos. 1-78,050) for the years 1858-1902;  642 boxes.
For assistance with the records preserved in the State Archives, researchers may contact our Library staff at651.259.3300 or reference@mnhs.org.

Unlawful Detainer

Unlawful Detainer files are destroyed after two years, per the State Records Retention Schedule, and are not available. Some other file types may also have been destroyed per state retention schedules.

Access to Divorce Records

  • Divorce records prior to 1897 are available online through the Minnesota Historical Society or by calling (651) 296-6126.
  • Divorce records from 1897 through 1980 are available through Civil Records. You will need the married names of both parties and the year of the divorce.
  • Divorce records from 1981 to the present are available through Family Court, Room 160, 15 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102 (651) 266-2842.

Filing a Lawsuit

Can I file my civil suit in Ramsey County (jurisdiction)?
Yes, under certain conditions. You will usually sue the defendant in the county where he/she/they reside, however, this may change depending on the circumstances of each case.  Jurisdiction can be complicated and because each case is unique, you may wish to consult an attorney.  Court personnel cannot give you legal advice as to where you must sue the defendant.

Can I file in Conciliation Court instead?
If the amount is $15,000.00 or less you may file your claim in Conciliation Court.  If the amount is over $15,000.00, file your claim in the Civil Filing Office at the address above.

Why is there no case number on the Summons and Complaint?
In Minnesota, a civil action is started when the Summons and Complaint are served on the defendant, which can happen before a case is filed with the court and given a file number.

For more information, visit the Starting a Civil Action page of the Self-Help Center.

Can I represent myself?  Will the court appoint an attorney if I can't afford one?
You may represent yourself or retain an attorney.  Attorneys (Public Defenders) are not appointed in Civil Lawsuits.  Representing yourself and not having an attorney will not be an excuse for failure to follow Court Rules and Procedures.

For more information, see the Representing Yourself in Court page of the State Self-Help Center.
 

Motions, Hearings, and Trials

How do I request a hearing?
How do I reschedule a hearing?
How do I reschedule a trial?

If a hearing or trial must be rescheduled, you must contact the Civil Assignment Manager for that case to discuss your options. 

For contact information and instructions, visit the Civil Assignment tab.

How do I continue my Conciliation Court hearing?
If you have a conflict with the date for your conciliation court hearing, you must send a letter to the Conciliation Court. The letter must be received by Conciliation Court five (5) working days before the hearing. The letter must clearly state the reason why you cannot be at the hearing. Usually only one continuance is granted.
 

Driver's License & Motor Vehicle-related Civil Actions

What can I do if my car was ordered forfeitded due to a DWI or drug charge?
You have the right to sue for return of the vehicle.  If it was seized in Ramsey County you must determine the value of the vehicle or property.  This will determine where you file your claim.  If the vehicle or property is worth $15,000.00 or less, file your claim in Conciliation Court. If the vehicle or property is worth more than $15,000.00, file in the Civil Filing office at the address above.

For more information visit the Vehicle Seizure and Forfeiture page on this site.
 

General Record Information

How do I get copies of Civil documents?
Visit the Civil Records Center at the address above or call our office at the number above to request a copy.  There is a copy fee.

Can a document or record be mailed or e-mailed to me?
Yes. Any request for copies can be made via phone or mail. Paper copies can be mailed to you.  If you prefer, an electronic version can be e-mailed. Only copies for the years 1981 to the present are available for e-mail. Electronic copies can be opened using Windows Picture Fax Viewer. Mail your request to Civil Records at the address above.  Copy fees apply.


Name Change Records

Do you have records of name changes?
Yes, if they were filed in Ramsey County.  Some of the records are confidential and may not be released without a court order.  Copy fees apply.