Legal Memorandum: Civil Cause of Action for Coercion in MN

Issue: Do Minnesota recognize civil a cause of action for coercion?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Coercion; Civil a cause of action; Wrongful or unlawful act
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 425 N.W.2d 244
Cited Statutes: Minn. Stat. §§ 609.27 and 609.275
Date: 03/01/2014

It has been contended that Minnesota does not recognize a private cause of action for violation of the criminal coercion statute, Minn. Stat. §§ 609.27 and 609.275.  However, there is a claim for coercion recognized under Minnesota common law in First State Bank of Hugo v. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 219 N.W. 908, 909 (1928) and Pillsbury Co. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 425 N.W.2d 244, 251 (Minn. Ct. App. 1988).

The common law coercion cause of action, followed in Minnesota, is described as follows:

To sustain an action for damages on the ground of coercion, there must be some wrongful or unlawful act, acts, or conduct, on the part of the defendant sufficient to constrain the plaintiff, against his will, to do or refrain from doing something which he has a legal right to do or refuse to do, and resulting in damage to him.  The acts or conduct complained of need not be ‘unlawful’ in the technical sense of that term.  It is sufficient if same is wrongful in the sense that it is so oppressive under given circumstances as to constrain one to do what his free will would refuse.


First State Bank of Hugo, 219 N.W. at 909; Pillsbury Co., 425 N.W.2d at 251.


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