Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Zakreswki: Fraud on the Court is basis for Rule 60(b) motion

In Zakrewski v. McDonough, 06-12804 (July 3, 2007), the Court reversed the denial of relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b), to a Florida inmate who alleged that his former counsel perpetrated a fraud on the court when counsel fraudulently induced him to file a habeas petition on his behalf. The inmate claimed that a lawyer induced him to sign a first petition by saying that his claims were close to being time-barred, and was incompetent in his preparation of this petition.
Citing Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524 (2005), the Court noted that where, as here, a movant does not assert (or reassert) allegations of errors in his state conviction, Rule 60(b) relief is available. The Court therefore reversed the district court’s ruling dismissing the Rule 60(b) proceeding. The Court, however, cautioned that Rule 60(b) sets high standards, and encouraged the district court to consider a number of factual issues in making its "fraud on the court" determination.