Legal Memorandum: An Appeal from a Judgment Prior to its Entry

Issue: Under Minnesota law, may an appeal be taken prior to judgment having been entered?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: An appeal from a judgment; Entry of judgment
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 383 N.W.2d 678; 231 N.W. 617; 181 Minn. 627; 210 Minn. 286; 437 N.W.2d 765
Cited Statutes: Rule 103.03(3)
Date: 03/01/2015

As explained in the Minn. Mining & Mfg. Co. v. H & W Motor Express Co., 507 N.W.2d 622, 624 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993) case, when nothing in the court’s order prevents judgment from being entered—such as what happens when the court determines it does not have jurisdiction, for instance—judgment must be entered, and only then may appeal be taken.  See Minn. Mining & Mfg., 507 N.W.2d at 623-24.  Rule 103.03(3) applies only to orders that preclude even the possibility of entry of judgment.  Id. at 624. 

“An order for judgment is not an appealable order.”  Tell v. Tell, 383 N.W.2d 678, 685 (Minn. 1986) (citing 1983 Comments to Rule 103.03)); accord Bush Terrace Homeowners Ass’n v. Ridgeway, 437 N.W.2d 765, 771 (Minn. Ct. App. 1989). 

An appeal from a judgment prior to its entry is premature and should be dismissed.  Schaust 295 Minn. at 572-73, 204 N.W.2d at 648.  See also Hampshire Arms Hotel Co. v. Wells, 210 Minn. 286, 288, 298 N.W. 452, 453 (1941) (also stating that “[a]n appeal from a judgment does not lie until the judgment has been actually entered.  An appeal from a judgment should be dismissed as premature where it is taken before it has been entered.”) (citing Merchants & Mfrs. State Bank v. Hanson, 181 Minn. 627, 231 N.W. 617(1930)).


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