Managing a business while deployed is an awful stress. I would think most military business owners know how difficult it might be to keep one hand on a business while the other hand is devoted to the battlefield. Adding the stress of a legal proceeding can heighten this awful stress.
Luckily, Minnesota has a rule that helps members of the military while they are deployed on TDY or otherwise.
Business While Deployed: Protection for Military Reservists
Minnesota statute 192.056 protects military reservists from Civil Court Proceedings. From a practical manner, this is what this might include stopping or delaying:
- Small claims court claims,
- Contract disputes,
- Collection matters,
- Employment issues, or
- Any other specific court proceeding.
What About National Guard Business Owners?
I think members of active duty or serving part-time have a strong argument why the Business While Deployed Rule applies to their deployment regardless whether they are a reservist or a member of the national guard.
As you can read, the rule uses the term “reservist”. But, I believe there is plenty of room for interpretation and public policy favors any member of the military. For what ever reason, Minnesota’s rule applicable to military members owning a business are directed towards a different rule for clarifying when it applies.
Under Minnesota statute 190.05, the term “military” is supposed to mean active service:
‘Active service’ means either state active service, federally funded state active service, or federal active service.
Now, military members past or present can see the flaws with their definition. In other words, we are stuck with the unknown when the rule might apply. As of the date of this post, the rule I am focused on, has never been litigated.
None the less, I think the most important point specific to the Business While Deployed Rule is this: Minnesota’s court system is supposed to acknowledge business owners who are deployed and reduce the risk of an unfair judgment.
At a minimum, I believe public policy supports this interpretation through and through.
Business While Deployed Extended to Spouses
Anybody who owns a business relies on support from their significant other. This support is heightened when we are talking about a military spouse.
Somewhat exciting for Minnesota’s business owners on deployment is the fact MN Statute 192.056 applies to a spouse too.
In other words, if I own a business with my spouse and I am deployed, the business owner (spouse or not) can ask the court to delay any and all civil proceedings from taking place. Really, this is a breath of fresh while military families put managing their communications, children and home life in front of any other pending claim.
Soldiers & Sailors Civil Relief Act
In case it isn’t obvious, the rules and protection under rule 192.056 is in addition to any rights and benefits military business owners have under the Soldiers & Sailors Civil Relief Act.
Thus, If you are a military business owner and need support, please contact me for help.