Motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) in United States District Court

A motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) in United States District Court is the topic of this blog post.

A motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) in United States District Court is filed on the grounds of mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect.

Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.”  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.”

Deadline to file Rule 60(b)(1) motion to vacate a judgment.

It should be noted that Rule 60 does state that the motion must be made within a reasonable time no more than one year after entry of the judgment or order, or date of the proceeding.   If you have recently become aware that a default judgment or any other judgment has been entered against you in Federal Court you need to act quickly to increase the probability that your motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has stated that

the law is settled that a district court has great discretion in deciding whether to grant a motion under Rule 60. It is subject to review only for abuse of discretion.

You also need to emphasize that you have affirmative defenses to the complaint as you must show that you have a meritorious defense in order to prevail on the motion.

Relevant factors considered by the court on a Rule 60(b)(1) motion.

In ruling on a motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) the court will look at three factors in deciding whether to grant relief from the default which are:

Whether the plaintiff will suffer prejudice if the judgment is vacated,

Whether the defendant has a meritorious defense

Whether the defendant engaged in any culpable conduct that led to the default or judgment being entered against them.

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.” See 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.”

However a motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) can be denied if it is shown that the moving defendant was culpable, and that conduct led to the default.

And the United States Supreme Court has stated that the determination of what conduct constitutes “excusable neglect” under Rule 60(b)(1) and similar rules “is at bottom an equitable one, taking account of all relevant circumstances surrounding the party’s omission.” See Pioneer Inv. Svcs. Co. v. Brunswick Assoc. Ltd., 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993).

A motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) does have a longer deadline than a motion to vacate a judgment in California under Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b).  However it has one significant difference in that the moving party is required to show a meritorious defense.

An experienced litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine whether filing a motion to vacate a judgment under Rule 60(b)(1) is appropriate.

Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a consultation and evaluation of your case.

Schedule a consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.


Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660


Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.