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Legal Memorandum: Appeal of a Trial Court's Judgment in MN

Issue: Under what circumstances is a trial court judgment immediately appealable as a final judgment or a certified partial judgment in Minnesota?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Trial court judgment; Appeal; Final or a certified partial judgment
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 418 N.W.2d 176; 326 N.W.2d 657; 425 N.W.2d 312; 430 N.W.2d 267; 609 N.W.2d 868; 374 N.W.2d 825
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(a), 105.01; Minn. R. Civ. P. 105.01, 105.02
Date: 07/01/2008

Even when a trial court judgment is not immediately appealable as a final judgment or a certified partial judgment, the Court of Appeals nonetheless can assert jurisdiction.  If the court does not conclude that a party has the right of appeal under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(a), it can and should determine that it nonetheless has jurisdiction to review the matter pursuant to its own discretionary authority.

In Windom v. Rosenkranz, 430 N.W.2d 267 (Minn. Ct. App. 1988) the court explained the circumstances under which such an immediate appeal is warranted:  “where substantial benefits to the parties in a particular case outweigh the general policy considerations against piecemeal review, and an immediate appeal will not cause prejudice . . . trial courts [should] authorize immediate appeals from partial judgments.”  Windom, 430 N.W.2d at 268 (dismissing appeal where claims remained and there was no substantial benefit that would be gained from immediate appeal of partial judgment).

In Emme v. C.O.M.B., Inc., 418 N.W.2d 176 (Minn. 1988) the Minnesota Supreme Court observed that this State has “long recognized certain exceptions to the general rule of finality.”  418 N.W.2d at 178.  Among these exceptions, and the exception that is applicable here, is under appellate procedural Rule 105, which provides that “[u]pon the petition of a party, in the interests of justice the Court of Appeals may allow an appeal from an order not otherwise appealable pursuant to Rule 103.03 except an order made during trial.”  Minn. […]

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