Sunday, February 26, 2006

Timing of rule 59(e) and rule 60(b) motions is jurisdictional

National Adver. Co. v. Murray City, 2006 UT App 75

Defendants Gene and Sherry Crawford won a fight with NAC over an outdoor advertising sign. The court of appeals affirmed the ruling in National Adver. Co. v. Murray City, 2003 UT App 332. After the remittitur issued, the Crawfords moved the trial court to reopen the judgment and amend their answer and crossclaim, under rule 59(e) or rule 60(b), Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, to include a breach of contract claim. The trial court granted their motion.

NAC appealed, and the court of appeals held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to reopen the judgment and permit the Crawfords to amend their crossclaim. The Crawford's motion, filed more than a year after the judgment, was well beyond the ten days allowed to file a rule 59(e) motion and the three months allowed to file a 60(b) motion.

The court specifically ruled that the filing of an appeal did not toll the time to file rule 59(e) or rule 60(b) motions. To someone familiar with the rules of appellate procedure, that seems axiomatic. Under rule 4(b), Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure, a rule 59(e) motion tolls the time to file a notice of appeal. So it makes no sense to say that a timely notice of appeal tolls the time file a rule 59(e) motion.


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