COMMENT: RULE 1.540(b), FLORIDA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE: IN SEARCH OF AN EQUITABLE STANDARD FOR RELIEF FROM FRAUD Skip over navigation
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Copyright 1985 Florida State University Law Review.

Florida State University Law Review

COMMENT: RULE 1.540(b), FLORIDA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE: IN SEARCH OF AN EQUITABLE STANDARD FOR RELIEF FROM FRAUD

WINTER, 1985

12 Fla. St. U.L. Rev. 851

Author

C. Timothy Gray

Excerpt

I. Introduction

Rule 1.540(b) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, 1 like Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), 2 allows for relief from judgments which for a variety of reasons should not continue to maintain their vitality. The rules establish various grounds for relief by motion in the original trial court. In addition to the grounds for relief under the motion procedure, Rule 1.540(b) provides for relief through an independent action: "This rule does not limit the power of a court to entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, decree, order or proceeding or to set aside a judgment or decree for fraud upon the court." 3

This sentence (the "saving clause") 4 has been the subject of various interpretations by the Florida courts. The courts have struggled to define the situations in which an independent action will be allowed, and the differences between fraud contestable within one year of the entry of final judgment by motion under Rule 1.540(b)(3) and the types of fraud which can be a basis for an independent action after one year. The most recent treatment has been by the Florida Supreme Court in DeClaire v. Yohanan. 5 This comment analyzes the current interpretation of the Florida saving clause in light of past applications and the jurisprudence surrounding the parallel federal rule.

This analysis begins by establishing operative definitions of the types of fraud that have been considered by courts in construing the rule. ...
 
 
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