Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60

Go To Rule 60 Essential Points

Rule 60. Relief from a Judgment or Order

(a) CORRECTIONS BASED ON CLERICAL MISTAKES; OVERSIGHTS AND OMISSIONS. The court may correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record. The court may do so on motion or on its own, with or without notice. But after an appeal has been docketed in the appellate court and while it is pend- ing, such a mistake may be corrected only with the appellate court’s leave.

(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.


(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.

(2) Effect on Finality. The motion does not affect the judgment’s finality or suspend its operation.

(d) OTHER POWERS TO GRANT RELIEF. This rule does not limit a court’s power to:

(1) entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding;

(2) grant relief under 28 U.S.C. § 1655 to a defendant who was not personally notified of the action; or

(3) set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.

(e) BILLS AND WRITS ABOLISHED. The following are abolished: bills of review, bills in the nature of bills of review, and writs of coram nobis, coram vobis, and audita querela.

Essential Points

  • Only in unusual circumstances will courts grant a motion for relief from a judgment or order pursuant to Rule 60. 60(b) specifics the circumstances, including newly discovered evidence that could not have been uncovered in time to bring a Rule 59 motion for a new trial, fraud, and excusable neglect.  Excusable neglect is a typical basis to undo a default judgment where a defendant had a reasonable excuse for defaulting (e.g., he never actually learned about the lawsuit and, therefore, failed to serve an Answer to the Complaint).
  • Rule 60 abolishes the following bills and writs: bills of review, and writs of coram nobis, coram vobis, and audita querela.  You may see these bills and writs applied in criminal cases and in some state civil cases.   Generally speaking these are legal mechanisms where a defendant asks a court for relief from judgment because of newly discovered evidence, mistake, hardship, or other principles of fairness.