Legal Memorandum: Rule 11 Sanctions in MN


Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Rule 11 Sanctions; Objectively reasonable basis for pursuing a factual or legal claim
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 01/01/2006

Sanctions under Rule 11 may be imposed when the attorney lacks an “objectively reasonable basis for pursuing a factual or legal claim” or when a competent attorney could not “form a reasonable belief that a pleading is well-grounded in fact.”  Gibson v. Caldwell Banker Burnet, 659 N.W.2d 782, 787 (Minn. Ct. App. 2003) (emphasis added).  The standard is an objective one. Uselman v. Uselman, 464 N.W.2d 130, 143 (Minn. 1990).  Thus, Rule 11 sanctions may be imposed even though the sanctioned party has a subjective belief that the defense or claim has merit.  Id. at 142-43.  See also Resolution Trust Corp. v. Kahn, 501 N.W.2d 703, 705 (Minn. Ct. App. 1993) (“Contract conditions and stipulations may be waived or abandoned by the express or implied mutual consent of the parties.”).

When the issue is which state’s law should apply, the court should apply the law of the forum if there is no significant difference between its law and that of the other state. Davis by Davis v. Outboard Marine Corp., 415 N.W.2d 719, 723 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987).


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