Friday, June 16, 2006

D.C. Circuit Reverses District Court's Rejection of FRCP Rule 60(b)(1) Motion

Last month in FG Hemisphere Associates, LLC v. Democratic Republic of Congo, 447 F.3d 835
(D.C. Cir. May 19, 2006), the D.C. Circuit, per Judge Williams, overturned a district court's rejection of a Rule 60(b)(1) motion by the Democratic Republic of Congo seeking relief from a default judgment against certain properties they own in the District of Columbia.

The D.C. Circuit felt that it was an abuse of discretion for the district court to deny the Rule 60 motion because the DRC's two-and-a-half month delay in responding to the writs of execution was mainly attributable to the time needed to transport the motion to the DRC, the time needed to translate motion, and the time needed to determine what department within DRC was responsible for answering. Further, there was no danger of prejudice to the judgment creditor as a result of the delay and DRC's claim that properties were immune from execution under Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) was potentially meritorious.


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