Lawyer Uses Rule 60 to Challenge Sanctions Award – And Loses

A lawyer who was sanctioned by a district court for filing a frivolous complaint brought a Rule 60(b) Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment to challenge the sanctions award. This is the first time I have seen such a use of Rule 60. The court denied the request to vacate the sanctions award, but did grant the lawyer additional time to pay the award. Sanctions were appropriate because the complaint that was filed was, in the view of the Court, barred by res judicata and not warranted by existing law. The Court found that the complaint was frivolous and that the lawyer should have known that it was frivolous.

Rule 60(b) provides:

(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;

(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);

(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;

(4) the judgment is void;

(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or

(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

The court did grant the attorney several additional months in which to pay the award.

Source: Hansen v. US Bank National Association, Dist. Court, D. Idaho 2016 – Google Scholar

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