Mandamus Proper Vehicle for Seeking Relief from a Judgment Under Rule 60(b)

In Ex parte Overton and Waldrop, No. 1050973, the Alabama Supreme Court granted a mandamus petition seeking relief from a judgment under Rule 60(b).  

The petitioners sought a writ of mandamus compelling the trial court to vacate its order granting the Rule 60(b) motion of North River and vacating default judgments entered in 2002 against North River’s insured and its employee.  In addition to the petition for writ of manda, the petitioners filed an appeal, out of an abundance of caution in the event the court determined that the trial court’s order setting aside the default judgments was an appelable order.  The court held that review by a petition for a writ mandamus was appropriate.

The court noted that a judgment under Rule 60(b) is generally considered an interlocutory order because further proceedings are contemplated by the trial court and that only in circumstances in which no further trial court proceedings are contemplated is such an order treated as a final judgment for purposes of appeal.  Because further proceedings were contemplated in the trial court, mandamus review was appropriate and the appeal was dismissed.