While Minnesota’s civil-pleading rule mirrors the federal rule, the state’s high court has determined that it would not, without a “compelling reason to depart from the traditional pleading standard for civil actions in Minnesota,” adopt the plausibility- pleading standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Twombly and Iqbal. Walsh v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. A13-0742 (Minn., decided August 6, 2014). The issue arose in the context of litigation seeking to vacate a foreclosure sale of residential property. Two concurring judges agreed that the complaint survived a motion to dismiss even under the plausibility-pleading standard, but wrote separately because they did not believe that the majority was called on to decide whether to adopt the standard.
In effect since the court adopted it in 1951, the state’s rule provides that “[a] pleading which sets forth a claim for relief . . . shall contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” According to the majority, given the rule’s plain language, purpose, history, and procedural context, “A claim is sufficient against a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim if it is possible on any evidence which might be produced, consistent with the pleader’s theory, to grant the relief demanded.”
Here, the complaint alleged ineffective service of foreclosure-related documents because neither the homeowner nor her roommate was served with the documents and they were the only residents of the property on the date of attempted service. They admitted that a Jane Doe was served with the documents, but Jane Doe was not the plaintiff. The court found it reasonable to infer that Jane Doe did not reside at the property—a requirement for effective service—which was consistent with the report of the bank’s process server who described Jane Doe as a property “occupant.” So ruling, the court affirmed an intermediate appellate court decision, which found that the district court had erred by dismissing the complaint.