Under Rule 5.04 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, a lawsuit not filed in court within one year is dismissed with prejudice, which means with finality:
Any action that is not filed with the court within one year of commencement against any party is deemed dismissed with prejudice against all parties unless the parties within that year sign a stipulation to extend the filing period. This paragraph does not apply to family cases governed by Rules 301 to 378 of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.
Under Rule 60.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, in the interests of justice, a court may relieve a party from a final judgment:
On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment . . . for the following reasons:
(a) Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
. . . or
(f) Any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.
A couple Minnesota cases have explained the Rule 60.02 exceptions for excusable neglect:
- Cole v. Wutzke, 868 N.W.2d 925 (Minn. Ct. App. 2015).
- Gams v. Houghton, 869 N.W.2d 60 (Minn. Ct. App. 2015).
Here are a couple good blog articles on Rules 5.04, 60.02, and the exception of excusable neglect:
In short, the general rule is that a case will be dismissed if it is not filed in court within one year. However, where attorneys can demonstrate their mistake or excusable negligence, the court may give leniency.