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Legal Memorandum: Motion to Change the Venue of a Civil Case

Issue: What do the Minnesota courts consider when deciding a motion to change the venue of a civil case?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Venue of a civil case; Motion to change
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 34 N.W.2d 156; 34 N.W.2d 157; 45 N.W.2d 560; 227 Minn. 77; 643 N.W.2d 103; 227 Minn. 76; 45 N.W.2d 561; 481 N.W.2d 24; 227 Minn. 74; 34 N.W.2d 155
Cited Statutes: Minn. Stat. § 542.11 (2007); Minn. Stat. § 542.11(4) (2002)
Date: 06/01/2008

Motions to change the venue of a civil case are governed by Minn. Stat. § 542.11 (2007).  That statute provides that

The venue of any civil action may be changed by order of the court in the following cases;

 

(1) upon written consent of the parties;

 

(2) when it is made to appear on motion that any party has been made a defendant for the purpose of preventing a change of venue under section 542.10 [relating to a change of venue when the case has been brought in the wrong county];

 

(3) when an impartial trial cannot be had in the county wherein the action is pending; or

 

(4) when the convenience of witnesses and the ends of justice would be promoted by the change.

 

Cases that have upheld a change of venue for the convenience of witnesses have often involved cases that would require lengthy travel for witnesses.  In Thon v. Erickson, 232 Minn. 323, 324, 45 N.W.2d 560 (1950), for example, the plaintiff, a resident of Lincoln County, brought an action in Hennepin County against a defendant who lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The suit involved fraudulent representations in the sale of a theater about twelve miles from the county seat of Lincoln County.  The county seat was about 100 miles from Sioux Falls, and about 200 […]

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