Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fourth Circuit errs regarding time for filing Rule 59(e) motion

United States v. Brightman, No. 10-7493 (4th Cir. Jan. 21, 2011):

In Brightman, the Fourth Circuit noted that the district court erred in considering the merits of Brightman's untimely Rule 59(e) motion because it was filed more than ten days after the entry of judgment.  In fact, the motion was filed twenty-five days after the entry of judgment.  When this occurs, the Fourth Circuit reminded the district court, a court should construe the motion as one under 60(b).

However, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 59(e) changed in December 2009.  The change means that the time for filing a Rule 59(e) motion expanded from ten to twenty-eight days.  Brightman filed his Rule 59(e) motion on August 3, 2010, rendering his motion governed by the new rule.

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