From the Federal Civil Practice Bulletin, the Third Circuit has held that a court may use Federal Rule of Civil Rule 60(b) to overturn the judgment of another court. While this is not a bankruptcy case, it could be applicable to Bankruptcy Courts via Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9024.
Budget Blinds, Inc. v. White, — F.3d —-, 2008 WL 2875349 (3d Cir. July 28, 2008) (click here for .pdf).
In this appeal, we consider whether a federal district court properly relied on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) to vacate a default judgment entered by another district court. We conclude that it did not, and we will remand so that it may consider whether to set aside the default judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4)…
We are persuaded by the reasoning of the First, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits to the extent that they conclude that Rule 60(b) motions (other than motions under
Rule 60(b)(4)) should generally be raised in the rendering court. Nonetheless, we decline to hold that registering courts lack the power in all situations to invoke Rule 60(b)(6) to set aside judgments.9 Rule 60(b)(6) exists so that courts may “vacate judgments whenever such action is appropriate to accomplish justice,” Klapprott v. United States, 335 U.S. 601, 614 (1949), in situations that are not addressed by the other five clauses of Rule 60(b). The drafters of Rule 60(b)(6) apparently recognized that a catch-all provision would be necessary, since it would be impossible to specify all of the scenarios in which justice might require vacatur of a judgment. Given the catch-all nature of Rule 60(b)(6), we do not think that it would be wise to adopt a rule that categorically forbids district courts from vacating the judgments of other district courts under this provision….
We decline to establish a categorical rule stating that registering courts lack the power to use Rule 60(b)(6) to vacate the judgments of rendering courts, but we emphasize that registering courts should exercise this power only under very limited circumstances. Even when a court is considering its own judgment, “extraordinary circumstances” must be present to justify the use of the Rule 60(b)(6) catch-all provision to vacate the judgment. See, e.g., Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 535-36, 125 S.Ct. 2641, 162 L.Ed.2d 480 (2005) (citing Ackermann v. United States, 340 U.S. 193, 199, 71 S.Ct. 209, 95 L.Ed. 207 (1950)). When a court is considering whether to vacate another court’s judgment under Rule 60(b)(6), these circumstances must be even more “extraordinary” because of the additional interest in comity among the federal district courts. We need not decide exactly how “extraordinary” a circumstance must be to justify the vacatur of another court’s judgment.