Legal Memorandum: Appeal of Declaratory Judgments

Issue: When can a declaratory judgment be appealed?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Declaratory judgments; Appeal
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 383 N.W.2d 678; 210 Minn. 286; 298 N.W. 452; 520 N.W.2d 775; 507 N.W.2d 622; 295 Minn. 571; 231 N.W. 617; 181 Minn. 627; 151 N.W.2d 584; 437 N.W.2d 765
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(e), 103.3(b)-(d), (f), (h), (i), R. 103.03(g), R. 103.03(j); Minn. R. App. P. 105; Minn. R. App. P. 103; Minn. R. Civ. P. 58.01
Date: 03/01/2015

Rule 103.03(e) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure deals with the appeal of declaratory judgments in Minnesota.  As explained in the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing case cited by the Court, 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. Co. v. H & W Motor Express Co., 507 N.W.2d 622, 623-24 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993) review denied (Minn. Dec. 22, 1993) (holding that Rule 103.03(e) applies to orders that preclude the possibility of entry of judgment).  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). 

If an order does not relate to an injunction, writ of attachment, or new trial or was not rendered in a proceeding supplementary to execution, or is not a family law matter or proceeding supplementary to execution or relating to summary judgment, it is not independently appealable.  Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.3(b)-(d), (f), (h), (i).  An appeal from any order not specifically included in Rule 103.03 is discretionary, and […]

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