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Legal Memorandum: Showing of Compelling Circumstances in MN

Issue: Under Minnesota law, what would constitute a showing of compelling circumstances that would contradict a court’s initial conclusion that no material facts are in dispute?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Showing of compelling circumstances; Motions for reconsideration; No material fact in dispute
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 529 N.W.2d 720
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 115.11
Date: 01/01/2006

  Motions for reconsideration may be granted only upon a showing of “compelling circumstances.”  Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 115.11.  Generally, this requires a showing that there has been an intervening legal development or that the original decision is “palpably wrong in some respect.”  Id. Advisory Committee Comment—1997 Amendment.  Motions for reconsideration are to be approached “cautiously,” used “sparingly” and granted only when the moving party demonstrates “compelling circumstances.”  See Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 115.11; Advisory Committee Comment—1997 amendments (Supp. 2005). 

When, a defendant in a contract case defends on the ground that his or her breach was justified, that is an affirmative defense on which the defendant bears the burden.  Den Mar Constr. Co. v. Am. Ins. Co., 290 N.W.2d 737, 743 (Minn. 1979) (“The burden of proving a justifiable breach, of course, is on the defendant obligor rather than the plaintiff obligee.”).  Mere assertions or speculation without concrete evidence is not enough to avoid summary judgment.  Bob Useldinger & Sons v. Hangsleben, 505 N.W.2d 323, 328 (Minn. 1993).  Summary judgment is mandatory against a party who fails to establish an essential element of his claim or defense where he bears the burden on that issue, because such failure renders all other facts immaterial.  White v. Minn. Dep’t of Natural Resources, 567 N.W.2d 724, 729 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997).

As noted “[m]ere speculation without some concrete evidence, is not enough to avoid summary judgment.”  Nguyen v. Nguyen, 565 N.W.2d 721, 724 (Minn. Ct. App.1997).  General assertions […]

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