This web page is a brief guide to Civil Process for the citizens of Wright County.
We have provided information which answers the most common questions received by our staff. The information presented is not comprehensive. It does not provide legal advice, nor does it attempt to suggest a course of action if there are legal issues to be resolved. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. Our office is not permitted to provide legal advice nor can we recommend any specific attorney.
We hope this web site will be beneficial. Should you have any questions, please contact the Wright County Sheriff’s Office Civil Department.
Wright County Sheriff’s Office is Located at 3800 Braddock Ave NE, Buffalo, MN 55313. Phone # 763-682-7646 or 763-684-4534.
Bankruptcy actions are filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Residents of Wright County file with the Minneapolis Office.
A bankruptcy filing will automatically stay any action to collect judgments or conduct Mortgage Foreclosure Sales. In most cases, it will automatically stop an Unlawful Detainer Action.
Following a hearing by the Bankruptcy Court, creditors may be permitted to continue their collection actions or the bankruptcy judge may permit other actions to resume.
Conciliation Court, also known as "Small Claims Court", was created to allow citizens to bring legal claims to the court without expensive costs or complicated legal procedures. Conciliation Court can accept claims for filing that are at, or below, the limit set by law. Currently the limit is $7500.
You cannot file a claim in Conciliation Court involving the title to real estate.
You may represent yourself or you may hire an attorney.
If you file a claim in Conciliation Court, you must do so in the county where the defendant resides.
For additional guidance you can phone and/or visit the District or contact the Conciliation Court office.
In a divorce action, the person seeking the divorce (petitioner) will have a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage prepared, usually by an attorney. This must be served on the respondent personally. Substitute service is not permitted.
If the petitioner requests the Sheriff’s Office to serve this process, the original Summons and a copy of the Summons and Petition for service should be presented to the Sheriff’s Office.
Following service, the Sheriff’s Office will return the original and an Affidavit of Service to the petitioner, who must file the documents with the Court Administrator.
The Sheriff’s Office does charge for this service.
Often in divorce actions a judge will award property to one of the parties, but the other party will not release the property. The Sheriff’s Office cannot force one person to turn property over to another.
It would be prudent to consult an attorney in this situation.
Fees charged by the Sheriff’s Office for different types of civil process functions are established by the Wright County Board of Commissioners, following a public hearing to discuss the proposed fees. Fees are reviewed by the Sheriff’s Office periodically and any proposed changes are discussed with other Sheriff’s Offices in the metropolitan area, so they remain fairly consistent.
An administrative service fee will be charged when the paper is entered as received by the Sheriff, and mileage will be charged after an attempt at service, even if the person being served cannot be located.
Victims of harassment may seek a restraining order from the court. The definition of harassment includes a single incident of physical or sexual assault. Further, gestures must either have a substantial adverse effect or be intended to have a substantial adverse effect of the safety, security, or privacy of another to be considered harassment.
If a single physical or sexual assault incident, repeated intrusive/unwanted incidents or gestures having adverse effect on safety are the basis for a harassment order, the petitioner must also allege an immediate and present danger of harassment before the court issues a temporary restraining order.
In any harassment case, reports of the incidents of harassment should be made to a local law enforcement agency. If you live in Wright County contact the Wright County dispatch center 763-682-7600 and a Deputy or local Officer will take a report.
To obtain a Harassment Restraining Order, it is necessary to file a Petition and Affidavit with the Court Administrator.
The petitioner must be a resident of Wright County.
Mortgage Foreclosures are legal actions taken to foreclose upon real estate, as opposed to personal property. These are covered by Minnesota Statutes Chapters 580 – 582.
Mortgage Foreclosure by Advertisement
The attorney hired to conduct the foreclosure will prepare the appropriate Notice of Mortgage Foreclosure Sale, arrange for service and publication of the notice and have the Sheriff’s Office conduct the sale.
Some attorneys utilize the Sheriff’s Office to serve the notices while others only notify the Sheriff’s Office of the sale. Since attorneys often do not involve the Sheriff’s Office until the day of the sale, information may not be available if you call.
Any questions regarding a sale or arrangements to reinstate a mortgage should be directed to the attorney preparing the sale. Their telephone number is usually published with the Notice of Sale.
Mortgage Foreclosure by Action
The notices are prepared by the plaintiff’s attorney, similar to the Mortgage Foreclosure by Advertisement, or may be prepared by the Sheriff. However, the Sheriff or a Deputy will sign the Notice of Sale. Service of the Notice of Sale is usually done by the Sheriff’s Office. A posting in three public places, as well as publication in the county’s legal newspapers is required by law.
Following this bid, other bidders are given an opportunity to bid. A successful bidder must have cash or certified funds (payable to the Wright County Sheriff) available to pay the Sheriff’s Office at the time of the sale.
The successful bidder will receive a Sheriff’s Certificate of Sale that lists the name of the purchaser and the amount of the purchase. The Certificate of Sale is prepared by the attorney and includes documentation proving that all statutory requirements have been completed.
All mortgage foreclosure sales are subject to a redemption period, usually 6 or 12 months. The length of the redemption period is noted in the sale notice.
The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency offers information about mortgage foreclosures.
Victims of domestic violence may seek an Order for Protection (OFP) from Family Court. It is not necessary for a victim to report the violence to the police in order to request an OFP, but the Wright County Sheriff's Office strongly recommends they do. This allows the criminal justice system to intervene in the situation.
Pursuant to Minnesota Statue 518B.01 Subd. 2(b), domestic abuse occurs to a family or household member if committed by a family or household member. Family or household member is defined as:
An adult may file a Petition for an Order for Protection on behalf of any victim who is a minor, is considered vulnerable because of mental deficiency, or is of an advanced age.
Anyone seeking an OFP should contact the Wright County Court Administration 763 682 7539. When a judge reviews the Petition and Affidavit for an OFP, the judge will determine if an Ex Parte Temporary OFP should be issued. Hearings to review the OFP are usually scheduled seven (7) days following the filing of the OFP.
After the hearing, a judge will listen to both the petitioner (the filing party) and the respondent (the person the OFP is filed against) and will determine if a long-term Order for Protection should be issued. This is generally for one or two years.
If an OFP is granted, either temporary or long-term, it will be brought to the Wright County Sheriff's Office to be served. The Sheriff's Office will arrange for service within Wright County. If the respondent lives in another county, the Wright County Sheriff's Office will fax the Order to the local Sheriff's Office.
In most cases, these Orders can be served at any time and anywhere. The domestic abuse advocate will gather as much information as possible to assist the Deputies in locating the respondent.
The Court Administrator does not charge a filing fee for this OFP, nor does the Sheriff's Office charge a fee for this service.
Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, most properties sold in a Mortgage Foreclosure action can be redeemed by the mortgagor. The published Notice of Mortgage Foreclosure Sale usually contains a paragraph indicating the length of the redemption period. In most cases, this is six months. Minnesota Statutes Chapters 580 – 582 regulate these redemptions. However, some Mortgage Foreclosures are subject to federal regulations, in which case there is no redemption period.
A Certificate of Redemption can be obtained from the Sheriff’s Office of the county in which the foreclosure occurred or from the Mortgagee (lending institution).
Redemption by Mortgagor (Recorded Fee Owner)
The amount of the redemption is determined by the following:
Payment of the redemption amount must be tendered to the Sheriff’s Office in cash or certified funds made payable to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. No other type of funds will be accepted.
Redemption by Other Parties
A redemption by other parties has some specific legal requirements. It is recommended that person interested in this type of redemption consult an attorney.
The fee for redemption must be paid before a Certificate of Redemption is issued.
Minnesota State Statutes 514.18 to 514.22
Subd. 1a. Towed motor vehicles. A person who tows and stores a motor vehicle at the request of a law enforcement officer shall have a lien on the motor vehicle for the value of the storage and towing and the right to retain possession of the motor vehicle until the lien is lawfully discharged. This section does not apply to tows authorized in section 169.041, subdivision 4, clause (1).
Subd. 2. Non possessory lien; notice. Notwithstanding the voluntary surrender or other loss of possession of the property on which the lien is claimed, the person entitled thereto may preserve the lien upon giving notice of the lien at any time within 60 days after the surrender or loss of possession, by filing in the appropriate filing office under the Uniform Commercial Code, Minnesota Statutes, section 336.9-501 a verified statement and notice of intention to claim a lien. The statement shall contain a description of the property upon which the lien is claimed, the work performed or materials furnished and the amount due.
Subd. 3. Priority; security; interest; foreclosure. The lien shall be valid against everyone except a purchaser or encumbrancer in good faith without notice and for value whose rights were acquired prior to the filing of the lien statement and who has filed a statement of interest in the appropriate filing office. The lien shall be considered a security interest under the Uniform Commercial Code and foreclosure thereon shall be in the manner prescribed for security interests under article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.
Subd. 4. Motor vehicles excluded. Subdivisions 2 and 3 shall apply to machinery, implements and tools of all kinds but shall not apply to motor vehicles.
514.19 Right of detainer.
The liens embrace all lawful charges against the property paid to any other person by the person claiming the lien, and the price or value of the care, storage or contribution and all reasonable disbursements occasioned by the detention or sale of the property.
514.21 Sale, when and where made; notice.
514.22 Conduct of sale.
Copyright 2003 by the Office of Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota.
General Guidelines (Following are important requirements that must be met in order to have a successful sale).
(Following are Wright County Sheriff's Office Civil Department requirements for conducting a sale).
Letter of instruction. The letter should be specific as to what you want the Sheriff’s Office Civil Department to do and include the date of the sale. If you want the Sheriff's Office Civil Department to accomplish service of the notice of sale on the owner(s) of the property indicate so in the letter of instruction. Provide name and address of individual(s) you want served and additional copies of the notice of sale for each service. Include your name, business name, and address and phone number on the letter of instruction in case of questions and for return of service.
Deliver service in person or mail to the Wright County Sheriff's Office Civil Department.
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office does not provide a list of sales.
Mortgage Foreclosure sales are advertised in legal newspapers. To qualify as a legal newspaper, the publication must have a paid subscription of over 500 subscribers. Sales are listed in the legal notices. Foreclosure Sales are not Posted.
If the Sheriff’s Office is conducting a sale pursuant to Judgment & Decree or as part of an Execution action, the sale notice will be posted in three public display cases located:
Mechanic’s Lien sales, which the Sheriff’s Office may conduct as an auctioneer, generally are published in the same mentioned papers. Notices of these sales are also displayed in the three public display cases mentioned.
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office conducts various types of sales under the appropriate statutes. In most cases the Sheriff’s Office is simply an auctioneer for the person who needs the sale performed.
These sales include, but are not limited to the following:
Subpoenas can be obtained from the Court Administrator’s Office in the county where the court action is filed. Someone who is not part of the court action can make Service of the Subpoena. County Sheriff’s civil department does serve subpoena’s.
An original and a copy for service must be given to the Sheriff’s Office. Following service, the original Subpoena will be returned to the party along with an Affidavit of Service. It is the responsibility of the party to return these to the Court Administrator.
A Subpoena can be served upon the named person or left with someone of "suitable age and discretion" who resides at the same address.
In most civil cases, a witness who has received a Subpoena is entitled to witness fees and mileage in advance. If so, a check to cover the witness fees and mileage usually is provided to the witness at the time the Subpoena is served. It is the responsibility of the person requesting service to pay those fees. To determine if a witness is entitled to fees, please check the statutes and rules applicable to the particular type of court action. The type of action in court determines the type of fees.
The Sheriff’s Office does charge for service of a subpoena.
If a plaintiff desires the Sheriff’s Office to serve a Summons and Complaint in a Civil Court action, the plaintiff should provide the Sheriff’s Office with the original Summons and a copy of the Summons and Complaint for each defendant in the action.
A Sheriff’s Deputy will serve the copy and return the original Summons, along with an Affidavit of Service, to the plaintiff. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to file the original and Affidavit with the Court Administrator.
The Sheriff’s Office charges fees for this type of service.
An Unlawful Detainer Action is required in order to evict a tenant from rental property. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 504B regulates these actions.
There are four common reasons for evicting a tenant:
To commence an Unlawful Detainer Action the property owner (plaintiff) must file a "Complaint In Unlawful Detainer" with the Wright County Court Administrator.
When a complaint has been filed, the Court Administrator will establish a court date, issue a Summons, and provide the plaintiff with enough copies of the Summons and Complaint to serve each defendant. If the tenant has unknown parties living on the premises, the plaintiff can list John Doe, Mary Roe, etc. as additional defendants.
The Summons and Complaint must be served on each tenant/defendant no less than seven (7) days before the court date, exclusive of the court date. The service must be made by a third person who is not part of the court action. A notarized Affidavit of Service must be filed with the Court Administrator before the date of the court hearing.
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office – Civil Department can serve the papers on the tenant/defendant. The original Summons, plus copies of the Summons and Complaint for the defendants should be delivered to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office – Civil Department as soon as the plaintiff receives them.
If a Sheriff’s Deputy does not find the defendants at home after making attempts on at least two different days, one day before 6:00 p.m. and one day after 6:00 p.m., the Deputy will post the Summons and Complaint on the door of the premises involved in the Unlawful Detainer Action.
The Deputy will complete the appropriate Affidavits and the original Summons and Affidavit will be filed with the Court Administrator’s Office by the Sheriff’s Office.
The plaintiff should mail a copy of the Summons and Complaint to each defendant by first class mail immediately after giving the original to the Sheriff. The plaintiff must complete and file a notarized Affidavit of Mailing with the Court Administrator. If posting is required, the court file will be checked to ensure the Affidavit of Mailing is on file with the court at least three days before the hearing.
The Writ must be taken to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office – Civil Department for service. A deputy will serve the Writ on the defendants if they are home, or it will be posted on the door of the premises. In either case, the defendants will be provided with a 24-hour notice advising that the Sheriff can remove the defendant 24 hours after the Writ is served or posted.
If the defendant fails to vacate the premises, the plaintiff must contact the Wright County Sheriff’s Office - Civil Department at (763) 682-7646 or 763-684-4534 to schedule an eviction.
Writs of Execution are Orders issued by District Court directing the Sheriff to satisfy a judgment. They must be directed to the Sheriff of the county in which the assets to satisfy the judgment are located and they may be for personal or real property. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 550 applies to executions.
The Writ of Execution document is valid for one hundred eighty (180) days after the date of issue. The judgment on which it is based is usually good for 10 years, and can be renewed by additional court action.
It is the responsibility of the judgment creditor to locate assets belonging to the judgment debtor which can be levied upon (seized) to satisfy the judgment. The most common procedures are wage levies and financial institution levies.
In computing the amount to be collected, the Sheriff’s Office will include the amount of the judgment, the interest accruing at the rate indicated on the Writ and any additional costs that have been added by the Court Administrator. The Sheriff’s Office will also add the approved 5% commission on the above total, plus Sheriff’s Office service fees.
If the judgment is totally satisfied, the creditor will receive the judgment amount, interest, additional costs, $15 employer’s fee and the deposit. If the judgment is only partially satisfied, the Sheriff’s commission on the amount collected, and the service fees, will be deducted from the amount collected.
If for some reason no money is collected, the Sheriff’s service fees will be deducted from the deposit.
The creditor is also required to send an exemption notice to the debtor at least ten (10) days prior to commencing the levy, if service is by mail. The deputy receiving the Writ of Execution from the creditor will ask the creditor to provide proof the date notice was given to the debtor.
Wage levies are conducted for a seventy (70) day period, after which the employer will send a check to the Sheriff’s Office. If the check is insufficient to satisfy the judgment the Sheriff’s Office will process the money collected, and a check will be issued to the creditor. If it is not enough to satisfy the judgment, the creditor must obtain a new Writ of Execution and request the Sheriff to continue the levy.
Financial Institution Levies
If the debtor is not a corporation or business, the creditor must provide the Sheriff with two copies of a completed levy exemption notice to be given to the financial institution when the levy is served.
Other Types of Levies
Non-homestead real property may also be levied upon and sold. This is a complex procedure and should be discussed with an attorney.
Upon your receipt of the judgment from the Wright County District Court, forward it along with the properly-endorsed writ of execution to the Wright County Sheriff' Office Civil Department.
Include one (fee deposit) check made payable to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. If the writ of execution is for wages or third party levy on a bank account, also include one or more $15.00 check(s) made payable to the judgment debtor’s employer and/or financial institution, whichever is applicable.
If you have questions, please contact Wright County District Court, or the Sheriff’s Office, Civil Department.