Legal Memorandum: An Amendment to a Pleading in MN

Issue: Under Minnesota law, when will a proposed amendment to a complaint be found to contain a ‘new cause of action,’ and therefore be denied?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Amendment to a pleading; New cause of action; Prejudice
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 243 Minn. 279; 558 N.W.2d 746; 67 N.W.2d 648
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 06/01/2014

Under Minnesota law,

[t]he primary function of notice pleading is to give the adverse party fair notice of the theory on which the claim for relief is based.  Therefore, the pleading of broad, general statements that may be conclusory is permitted, and pleadings need not allege facts to support every element of a cause of action.

Goeb v. Tharaldson 615 N.W.2d 800, 818 (Minn. 2000) (citations and internal punctuation omitted); Barton v. Moore, 558 N.W.2d 746, 749 (Minn.1997).

Equally important, even if the proposed amendment were regarded as stating a new cause of action that does not necessarily preclude the amendment.  The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that an amendment may be permitted even on the day before trial and even if it changes the underlying theory of the amending party’s claim where there is no substantial prejudice to the non-amending party.  Colstad v. Levine, 243 Minn. 279, 284–85, 67 N.W.2d 648, 653 (1954). See La Salle Cartage Co. Inc. v. Johnson Bros. 225 N.W.2d 233, 237-38 (Minn. 1974) (“[T]he rules specifically provide that the court in granting leave to amend a pleading shall do so freely when justice so requires.  In this context, justice requires the presentation of the claim or defense on the merits.  As such, unless prejudice going to the merits has been established, the amendment should be permitted.”).

Further, that an amendment to a […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)