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Home / Courts / 4th Circuit / Criminal Practice – Rule 60(b)(3) Motion – Untimely – No Tolling – First Impression

Criminal Practice – Rule 60(b)(3) Motion – Untimely – No Tolling – First Impression

Defendant alleges that the government made misrepresentations about the DNA tests that contributed to his conviction. However, he filed his motion for relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(3) well outside the rule’s one-year limit. On this matter of first impression, we agree with our sister circuits that Rule 60(b)(3)’s time limit is a mandatory claim-processing rule that cannot be tolled.

We affirm the district court’s denial of defendants Rule 60(b)(3) motion for relief.

Although Rule 60(b)’s time limit is not jurisdictional, this does not mean that a court may dispense with it, even for good cause. Some claim-processing rules are mandatory and therefore unalterable if properly raised by an opposing party. For such rules, even equitable tolling cannot be applied to forgive a late filing.

Rule 60(c)(1) expressly sets a one-year outer time limit for motions brought under subsections (b)(1)–(3), including motions based on fraud or misrepresentation. Critically, Rule 60(b)(3) is singled out by another rule for inflexible treatment.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6 governs computing time periods for filings and provides a court discretion to extend those periods. Although a court generally may extend time limits upon a showing of “good cause” under Rule 6, that rule explicitly prohibits a court from extending the time to act under Rule 60(b): “A court must not extend the time to act under Rule[] . . . 60(b).” Because Rule 6 singles out Rule 60(b) for inflexible treatment, it expresses a clear intent to compel rigorous enforcement of Rule 60(b)’s one-year outer time limit for claims brought pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1)–(3).

Based on the principles laid out in Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, 139 S. Ct. 710 (2019), and United States v. Marsh, 944 F.3d 524 (4th Cir. 2019), we find this treatment of Rule 60(b) dispositive, leaving us without discretion to extend Rule 60(b)’s one-year time limit for equitable reasons, whatever their merit.


United States v. Williams (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-002-23, 13 pp.) (James Wynn, J.) No. 19-7354. Appealed from USDC at Statesville, N.C. (Kenneth Bell, J.) Jeffrey Michael Brandt for appellant; Elizabeth Margaret Greenough and William Stetzer for appellee. 4th Cir.

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