Minnesota Debt Collection Laws

Todd Gurstel Amy M. Goltz Daniel J. Bernhard

Submitted by Todd Gurstel, Chief Executive Officer, Gurstel Chargo, Amy M. Goltz, Director of Retail Litigation, & Daniel J. Bernhard, Associate


Published by The National List of Attorneys



In 1997, Gurstel Chargo was formed in Minneapolis to assist businesses with their fiscally-driven matters. http://www.gurstel.com/home. Throughout the years, the firm has expanded in practice discipline and growth to include offices in Arizona, Iowa, and most recently in Nebraska. The firm is a business-focused firm with three business lines that include retail collections, commercial collections and financial recovery. The practice blend is structured to provide clients with sophisticated and occasionally unlikely solutions to their fiscally-driven matters. Amy M. Goltz, the director of retail litigation, practiced at a national collection law firm for several years prior to joining Gurstel Chargo. Ms. Goltz is admitted to practice in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Ms. Goltz earned her Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law, where she graduated with honors. Daniel J. Bernhard, an associate in the firm’s retail litigation department, served for several years as a judicial law clerk for the Chief Civil Judge in Hennepin County District Court. Mr. Bernhard earned his Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law, where he graduated with honors.


Statute of Limitations

The general rule in Minnesota is that a creditor may only bring a lawsuit to collect on an open account or written contract if the lawsuit is brought within the applicable limitation period. Generally, a six-year limitation period governs contract claims, unless Minnesota’s adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code prescribes otherwise. Minn. Stat. § 541.05 subdiv. 1 (2011).


In 2004, Minnesota adopted the Uniform Conflicts of Laws-Limitations Act, which requires the law of the state governing the contract (including that state’s limitation periods) be applied to the claim. Minn. Stat. §§ 541.30 – 541.36 (2011).. While this means that the limitation period on a claim being pursued in Minnesota can be severely reduced, the foreign state’s laws for starting and stopping the limitation period also apply. Minn. Stat. § 541.32 (2011).. In this regard, many states (like Minnesota) have “tolling statutes” that stop the limitation period from running when the person is not amenable to service within that state. See Minn. Stat. § 541.13 (2011)..



In Minnesota, judgments are also limited by time. Judgments (other than those in certain family-law settings) survive for ten years from the date of entry. Minn. Stat. § 548.09 (2011). Notably, every docketed judgment obtained in Minnesota that requires the payment of money also becomes a lien upon all real property (except Minnesota’s registered property) within the docketed county. Id. The lien survives so long as the judgment remains valid. Id. Judgments may be moved via transcription and then docketed in other counties as well. Id. To extend the life of the judgment and judgment lien, judgments can be renewed for an additional ten years. Minn. Stat. § 541.04 (2011).


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