January 13, 1999 -- The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed
with Thomas H. Roberts of the law firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C., in Fobian v. Storage Technology
Corp., reversing the United States District Court decision to reject plaintiffs
Rule 60(b) motion for lack of jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals held that litigants
could request a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, fraud, misrepresentation and
other misconduct under Rule 60(b) by filing a motion with the trial court within one year
while the case was on appeal in the Court of Appeals.
Under the holding by the Court of Appeals in Fobian v. Storage Technology
motions under Rule 60(b) should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, but should be
filed in the trial court for consideration on the merits. If the district court determines
that it is inclined to grant the Rule 60(b) motion, it should issue a short memorandum so
stating. The litigant can then move the Court of Appeals for a limited remand so that the
district court can grant the Rule 60(b) relief.
The facts and circumstances of each case are unique and
therefore the fact that a law firm has obtained significant verdicts and results
in other cases in no way guarantees that other cases will have similar results.