Minnesota Supreme Court finds relief from a Rule 5.04(a) dismissal for failure to file within one year is available under Rule 60.02 so long as the four Finden factors are met.

In Gams v. Houghton and Cole v. Wutzke, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed as modified and remanded two cases for the application of Minn. R. Civ. P. Rule 60.02 to a Rule 5.04(a) dismissal.  In 2013, the supreme court adopted Rule 5.04(a), requiring all cases to be filed with the court within one year of service or they are “deemed dismissed.”  All cases pending at the time of the Rule’s adoption were granted a one-year grace period for filing that ended on July 1, 2014.

In both Gams and Cole, the plaintiffs filed after expiration of the grace period and their cases were subsequently deemed dismissed.  Both parties sought relief under Rule 60.02, which states “the court may relieve a party or the party’s legal representatives from a final judgment (other than a marriage dissolution decree), order, or proceeding.”

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