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Motion Practice Resources: Minnesota Motion Practice

This LibGuide will help you find resources on motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss, and how to draft such motions in Minnesota.

Standards of Review

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has created a very useful document (which it regularly updates) which identifies standards of appellate review for different kinds of trial court orders, including summary judgment and dismissal actions.

This document is available from the state law library as a PDF. Search for the section on "Standards of Review", on the left-hand-side column. The document is also available as a Word Document on the Minnesota Court of Appeals' website.

Pirsig on Minnesota Pleading

This treatise contains sample pleadings commonly used in Minnesota. Has a chapter on summary judgment, which includes some sample forms, and an overview of summary judgment (with references to cases), supported documentation needed in making such a motion, responses to summary judgment motions, etc. Also has subsections covering motions to dismiss.

  • The most recent edition in print is available in the library in the reference collection.
  • This is also available on Lexis: Click on "Browse Sources" and then in the "Search Sources" box on the left, enter "Pirsig."

Minnesota Civil Practice

This treatise includes a subsection on summary judgment within chapter on Dismissals and Judgments Short of Trial; Rule 41 Motions to Dismiss are also covered in here. For Rule 12 motions to dismiss, you’ll want to look at the chapter on Defendant’s Pleading or Response. The discussion on summary judgment includes forms, history, test for granting summary judgment, etc.

This resource is available in print in the library on reserve and in the reference collection, and is also available on LexisNexis (link will take you to table of contents for this title on Lexis).

Trial Practice & Procedure in MN

This is a 2007 resource from Minnesota Continuing Legal Education (the full title is "Trial practice and procedure in Minnesota state court : how to litigate the civil case"). It contains a chapter on “Dismissals, Motions to Dismiss, Motions for Summary Judgment,” which is authored by Michael L. Weiner. It's a quick and easy reference for summary judgment and dismissal motions, what they are, what the standards are, who may bring such motions, the timing of the motions, etc.

This resource is available in print, and electronically from Minnesota CLE (contact reference desk for information on how to obtain login code for William Mitchell). From the home page, click the "Online Library - Search for free" button, and then do a search for "summary judgment" in the "search by keyword in chapter body." This title should be the first hit of many chapters. Feel free to look at the other results, as well!

Dunnell Minnesota Digest

This resource (subtitled, "An encyclopedia of Minnesota law") is an encyclopedia of legal topics and their treatment in Minnesota; it also includes references to cases (hence the “digest” part of the title). Summary judgment is included under the “Judgments” topic, and consists of a good description of the motion as compared with other judgment motions, the affidavits necessary to include in such a motion, when and how to use such a motion, and how such motions are treated on appeal. Motions to dismiss can be found primarily under the “Pleadings,” “Dismissal,” and “Appeal and Error” topics.

This resource is available in print, in the reference collection, and on Lexis Nexis (start typing "Dunnell" in the search box, "Dunnell Minnesota Digest" will pop up under the search box. You can then browse the table of contents, make Dunnell a filter to search only in it, or click on "Get Documents" and then search within those results).

Minnesota Practice Series

Minnesota Practice Series is a multi-volume West product that summarizes several different areas of Minnesota law. The library owns two copies of this series, both located in the reference section. These titles can also be found on WestlawNext (start typing "Minnesota Practice" in the search box, and when the title pops up under the search box, click on the title - then you can search in all of the Minnesota Practice Series, or you can select the particular volume of Minnesota Practice you want to search).

Several of the individual titles in the series relate to civil procedure, and thus cover summary judgment (Rule 56) and motions to dismiss (Rules 12 and 41).

  • Vols. 1, 1A, 2, 2A: Civil Rules Annotated
    You will want to look at the section on Rule 56, which is the Summary Judgment Rule; or the sections on Rule 12 and Rule 41 for Motions to Dismiss. Very good, thorough discussion on Rules, their history, citation to case law, supporting documentation; etc.
  • Vol. 5A: Methods of Practice
    Includes a brief discussion on the appealability of summary judgment and partial summary judgment.
  • Vols. 15, 16: Civil Practice Forms
    Contains commentary on Rules 12, 41, and 56, with several forms on different situations where such motions might be appropriate. NOTE – the forms are just skeletons. Don’t expect the forms to do all the work for you. The forms also contain references to pertinent Digest Key Numbers, which can help you find cases.
  • Vol. 30: Summary judgment and related termination motions
    Not as thorough or informative as the information in volumes 1-2A; doesn’t contain forms like volumes 15-16. Handbook format; lists some cases; intended as a down and dirty reference manual for motions that can terminate the case (or portions thereof) before trial – including summary judgment & motions to dismiss.

Minnesota Digest

Minnesota Digest is a finding tool, organized by topics, that can lead to Minnesota case law about the topic. In the Descriptive Word Index (DWI), you’ll see that Summary Judgment is covered by many topics within the Digest. You will need to decide which topic best meets your research needs.

This resource is available in the library in the reference collection. You may also access the key number system on WestlawNext under the "Tools" tab. There you can search for “summary judgment” or “motion to dismiss” within Minnesota or other jurisdictions.

Search the Catalog

Keyword search the Library Catalog:      


Suggested Subject Searches:

The following subject searches may be more productive than a keyword search:

Motions (Law) -- Minnesota

Pre-trial procedure -- Minnesota

Civil procedure -- Minnesota

Subject search the Library Catalog:      

Slides from Motion Practice Presentation

Attached is the PowerPoint from the Motion Practice Research presentation the William Mitchell Reference Librarians gave in the Week 6 section class.

Contact the Library

If you need more information on this topic, please contact the reference desk:

by phone: 651-290-6424

via e-mail:

or via IM chat during reference hours on the library's website

Database Access Info

Some resources in this guide are William Mitchell College of Law licensed databases.  These are available to students, faculty, and staff either with a network login or individual password. Many of them are also available to the public from the computers in the library, as well as through computers signed into the college's wireless network.

Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law are subscription services that require users to have individual user accounts for access.