Motion to set aside judgment

Civil procedure in the United States
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In law, a motion to set aside judgment is an application to overturn or set aside a court's judgment, verdict or other final ruling in a case. Such a motion is proposed by a party who is dissatisfied with the end result of a case. Motions may be made at any time after entry of judgment, and in some circumstances years after the case has been closed by the courts. Generally the motion cannot be based on grounds which were previously considered when deciding a motion for new trial or on an appeal of the judgment, thus the motion can only be granted in unusual circumstances, such as when the judgment was procured by fraud which could not have been discovered at the time of the trial, or if the court entering the judgment lacked the jurisdiction to do so.

Motions to set aside judgments entered in civil cases in the United States district courts are governed by Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (see below). The rule is quite straightforward; its court room application is mostly exactly as stated.

Motions to set aside judgment in criminal cases are rare: in U.S. jurisprudence the writ of habeas corpus is the usual method of attacking a criminal conviction after the right of appeal has been exhausted.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Rule 60. Relief from Judgment or Order

(a) Clerical Mistakes. Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time of its own initiative or on the motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders. During the pendency of an appeal, such mistakes may be so corrected before the appeal is docketed in the appellate court, and thereafter while the appeal is pending may be so corrected with leave of the appellate court.
(b) Mistakes; Inadvertence; Excusable Neglect; Newly Discovered Evidence; Fraud, Etc. On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or a party's legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or
(6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.
The motion shall be made within a reasonable time, and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) not more than one year after the judgment, order, or proceeding was entered or taken. A motion under this subdivision (b) does not affect the finality of a judgment or suspend its operation. This rule does not limit the power of a court to entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding, or to grant relief to a defendant not actually personally notified as provided in Title 28, U.S.C., § 1655, or to set aside a judgment for fraud upon the court. Writs of coram nobis, coram vobis, audita querela, and bills of review and bills in the nature of a bill of review, are abolished, and the procedure for obtaining any relief from a judgment shall be by motion as prescribed in these rules or by an independent action.

See also: appeal


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