Monday, June 21, 2010

Motion To Amend Judgment Must Be Filed Within One Year

In Mumenthaler v. Williams, et al (3D09-3143), the Third District reversed an order amending a final judgment because the motion to amend the judgment was filed more than one year after the entry of the judgment.  The court stated:
Approximately one year and four months [after the entry of judgment], the plaintiffs filed a motion under Rule 1.540(b), seeking to amend the final judgment. The plaintiffs’ motion alleged that Swiss counsel advised them that the judgment would not be enforceable under Swiss law because the judgment did not state that it was “final, absolute, and unappealable.”
It is clear that the plaintiffs relied on Rule 1.540(b)(1) for their motion for relief from judgment. Subdivision (b)(1) allows relief from judgment on account of “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect[.]” A motion under Rule 1.540(b)(1) must be filed “not more than 1 year after the judgment, decree, order, or proceeding was entered or taken.” As the motion was filed more than one year after the judgment was entered, the trial court was without jurisdiction to amend the judgment. For that procedural reason, we reverse the amended judgment. The original judgment, of course, remains intact.


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