Following up on the firm's post, Rule 60 Motions in the Trial Court After Filing a Notice of Appeal? Part 1, there are timeliness issues which counsel must appreciate.
Even on remand from the court of appeals, the timeliness of a Rule 60(b) motion is governed by the 6 months period in teh rule. The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision in Se. Colorado Water Conservancy Dist. v. Cache Creek Min. Trust, 854 P.2d 167, 171 (Colo. 1993), explains, although there the proceedings there were highly convoluted.
In essence, the party seeking relief in Cache Creek argued that its Rule 60(b)(2) motion was timely filed because it was directed against the denial of a previously filed Rule 60(b)(5) motion, and not against the original judgment. Had it been directed against the former, the motion would have been timely. However, the court rejected this argument based on the face of the Rule 60(b)(2) motion, finding that the argument “lacked any substantial factual basis.”
The court reiterated that finding: “the factual basis” of the argument “is wholly insubstantial and contrary to the clear intent of” the Rule 60(b)(2) motion. 854 P.2d at 177. In effect, the court found that the Rule 60(b)(2) motion was in fact expressly directed at relief from the original judgment, and not from any “alleged fraud [which] somehow tainted the discretion of the court in denying the 60(b)(5) motion.” 854 P.2d at 171.
The court found that the Rule 60(b)(2) motion “could be timely only if it were truly directed at” the Rule 60(b)(5) motion and not at the original judgment. The case suggests that a Rule 60(b)(2) motion can attack an “order” subsequent to the “judgment” entered on a jury verdict!
After all, Rule 60(b) provides that a motion is timely if is filed “no more than six months after the judgment, order, or proceeding was taken.” Since “judgment” and “order” are separately-listed items in the rule, there is no reason to conflate the two and make judgment and order one and the same thing.
As the Cache Creek court stated: the “standard” which must be met in order to make a Rule 60 motion timely filed is whether it in fact seeks relief from an order issued within the last 6 months, and in which case, to prevail, the further standard that “the alleged fraud somehow tainted the discretion of the court” in denying the motion for JNOV.
In this regard, note that according to Molitor,
A request for a remand to permit the trial court to rule on a motion to vacate judgment does not require the appellate court to determine the merits of the motion, but only to determine whether the motion contains sufficient allegations to satisfy the requirements of C.R.C.P. 60(b).
795 P.2d at 269.