In Minnesota, the public has access to certain district court pleadings. For parties with pending matters, it is important to know how to obtain this information. Minnesota has different resources for searching court files. Some information can be found online and other information must be reviewed at the courthouse.

Cases such as criminal, civil, and family law matters are generally deemed public. Cases or filings regarding protective orders, Order for Protections, child protection or CHIPS matters, and confidential filings, such as medical records, are not available to the public.

At the Courthouse

The courthouse is a great resource for acquiring pleadings and documentation. Court administration is available to answer questions and the court has public access terminals to view pleadings. While there is not a charge to merely view the documents, there is a copy fee. The copy fee is $8 for a plain copy and $14 for certified copy. Going to the courthouse is a great option for litigants who do not know exactly what they are looking for or looking for an older pleading.

Minnesota Public Access (MPA) Remote

Minnesota Public Access or MPA is Minnesota’s court record system. It also is commonly referred to as MNCIS. Through this system, parties can search by case number, party name, or attorney name. This will show the “Register of Actions” for a case. It offers parties are a complete list of actions in a particular case. It is important to note that MPA does not show the individual documents. A party would need to go to the courthouse or use MCRO to find a particular pleading.

Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO)

As a new addition to Minnesota’s district court system, MCRO offers the public the ability to search different court file numbers for legal pleadings. Prior to its creation, parties would need to go to the courthouse or mail in a form for the desired document. In MCRO, the searcher must use the actual court file number. Once entered, MCRO will generate the pleadings of a particular matter for viewing. This system does have its limits. Files prior to 2015 may not be available and will need to be viewed at the courthouse. At this time, the available pleadings on MCRO are free. However, once the system is fully established, the court will have a fee per document.

Minnesota’s district courts have a multitude of ways to obtain court pleadings. Parties may not need to make a trip to the courthouse to obtain a particular document. They can simply search MPA for the court file number and use MCRO to find the desired document. In light of the pandemic, the remote options can be a useful tool for litigants.

If you have questions about your case, contact our office today. Our experienced legal team is ready to assist. Contact our office at (763) 323-6555 or by submitting an online contact inquiry request through our website.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized divorce lawyers in the Twin Cities. He has been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the best divorce lawyers in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper