Motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(4)
Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 9:10 AM

A motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(4) is the topic of this blog post.

A motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(4) in United States District Court is filed under Rule 60(b)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 60(b)(4) (“Rule 60”) on the grounds that the judgment is void due to lack of personal jurisdiction as the defendant was not validly served with the summons and complaint is the topic of this blog post.

Rule 60 states in pertinent part that “(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (4) the judgment is void;

And Rule 60 also states that “(c) Timing and Effect of the Motion. (1) Timing. A motion under Rule 60(b) must be made within a reasonable time—and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) no more than a year after the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding.”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated that if a defendant is not properly served that any default judgment entered against them is void because the defendant has not been served in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 and therefore the court lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that if the district court finds that a judgment is void they must vacate the judgment and does not need to consider the merits of any defense, any prejudice to the plaintiff or any culpable conduct on the part of the defendant.

A void judgment is a legal nullity. See Black's Law Dictionary 1822 (3d ed.1933); see also id., at 1709 (9th ed.2009).

Although the term "void" describes a result, rather than the conditions that render a judgment unenforceable, it suffices to say that a void judgment is one so affected by a fundamental infirmity that the infirmity may be raised even after the judgment becomes final. See Restatement (Second) of Judgments 22 (1980); see also id., § 12.

A well known Federal Practice Guide states that there is no time limitation on filing a  motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(4). See 11 CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT ET AL., FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 2862 (3d ed.2013). 

In discussing Rule 60 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has stated that this rule, like all the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “is to be liberally construed to effectuate the general purpose of seeing that cases are tried on the merits.” Rodgers v. Watt, 722 F.2d 456, 459 (9th Cir. 1983) (internal citations omitted.)

See also Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1, “The Federal Rules should be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”

“Rule 60(b) is ‘remedial in nature and . . . must be liberally applied.’ ” TCI Group Life Ins. v. Knoebber, 244 F.3d 691, 696 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal citations and quotations omitted.)

Sample motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(4).

Attorneys or parties in civil litigation in United States District Court who wish to view a portion of an 11 page sample motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(4) that includes brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, sample declaration and proof of service by mail sold by the author can see below.

Sample Motion to Vacate Judgment Under Rule 60(b)(4) by Stan Burman on Scribd

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DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.