Legal Memorandum: Review of a Summary Judgment Order in MN

Issue: Under Minnesota law, what is the standard of review of an order granting summary judgment and denying a motion to amend a complaint?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Denial of a motion to amend a complaint; Standard of review
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 573 N.W.2d 677; 504 N.W.2d 758; 521 N.W.2d 622; 552 N.W.2d 705
Cited Statutes: Rule 15.01
Date: 04/01/2001

          With respect to summary judgment, the appellate court must determine whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and whether the trial court erred in its application of the law.  H.B. By and Through Clark v. Whittemore, 552 N.W.2d 705, 707 (Minn. 1996).  In making these determinations the Court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and must place on the moving party the burden to show the absence of material fact issues.  W.J.L. v. Bugge, 573 N.W.2d 677, 680 (Minn. 1998).  Only if the moving party satisfies this burden does the responsibility shift to the non-moving party to point to specific facts which give rise to a genuine issue of material fact for trial.  Id.  Any doubts about disputed issues must be resolved by denying summary judgment.  Murphy v. Wood, 545 N.W.2d 52, 53 (Minn. Ct. App. 1996).

Rule 15.01 permits certain amendments to the pleadings by leave of the court.  The rule expressly provides that leave “shall be freely granted when justice so requires.”  As construed, the rule means that the amendment should be freely granted except where to do so would result in prejudice to the other party or where the additional claim could not survive summary judgment.  See Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761-62 (Minn. 1993); CPJ Enters., Inc. v. Gernander, 521 N.W.2d 622, 624 (Minn. Ct. App. 1994).  Although the decision to deny a request […]

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