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Motion to vacate satisfied judgment under 60(b)(5)

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Junior Member

I am looking for help and would greatly appreciate an advice!

I was involved in a litigation (pro-se) and lost. A judgment has been entered against me. I was not successful in negotiating with the plaintif to vacate the judgment in exchange for and additional sum of money.

I would like to satisfy (pay) the judgment and then motion the court under MA RCP 60(b)(5) to vacate the satisfied judgement.

For reference the relevant portion of the rule is quoted below. I am looking for advice on how to make my motion stronger, as this is an area where the Courts seem to have a bit of discretion.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Rule 60 (b): "On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) ...; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged..."


Junior Member
My objective

I should have mentioned this in my original post: The reason I would like to vacate the judgement is so that it would not impact my credit score.



Senior Member

(a) Clerical Mistakes. Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time of its own initiative or on the motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders. During the pendency of an appeal, such mistakes may be so corrected before the appeal is docketed in the appellate court, and thereafter while the appeal is pending may be so corrected with leave of the appellate court.

(b) Mistake; Inadvertence; Excusable Neglect; Newly Discovered Evidence; Fraud, etc. On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b), (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. The motion shall be made within a reasonable time, and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) not more than one year after the judgment, order or proceeding was entered or taken. A motion under this subdivision (b) does not affect the finality of a judgment or suspend its operation. This rule does not limit the power of a court to entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding, or to set aside a judgment for fraud upon the court. Writs of review, of error, of audita querela, and petitions to vacate judgment are abolished, and the procedure for obtaining any relief from a judgment shall be by motion as prescribed in these rules or by an independent action.


Senior Member
No one here can tell you if you would win such a motion.

All I can tell you is to contact the attorney for the creditor, lay out your proposal, and ask if he will oppose or agree or stand silent on the motion.

Then file the motion.

It will be entirely up to the court.


Junior Member
Got it. Thanks.

A couple of follow-up questions if I may?

I have tried to contact the opposing party's attorney, and they did not respond to my proposal to file a joint or an ascended-to motion to vacate the judgement in exchange for an extra $1k above the judgment amount.

- What could be a basis for opposing the motion to vacate a satisifed judgment?

- If the other party stands silent on the motion, can the court still deny an un-opposed motion?

Thank you!


Senior Member
Q: What could be a basis for opposing the motion to vacate a satisifed judgment?

A: I couldn't even begin to guess.

Q: If the other party stands silent on the motion, can the court still deny an un-opposed motion?

A: Yes. The court is not bound by anything it doesn't want to be bound by.

Read your local and state rules of civil procedure carefully. There may be some kind of "golden rule" requiring you to contact the other attorney. Do it anyway and do it in writing.


Senior Member
I would go back and read an annotated RCP 60(b). That’s a code section with cases interpreting the construction and application of the statute. MA is not my state, but I strongly suspect that you are misinterpreting the purpose of the statute. I don’t think that your motion will accomplish what you wish (i.e. to clear your credit record), and I think that it will fail, even if unopposed.

Without being as verbose as that thread that you necroposted, do notice that we began with the premise that the judgment and the case goes away. The explanation that followed indicated that happened as part of the process of satisfying the judgment.

You’ve quoted your statute out of context. Rather than rambling about civil procedure, let me just point out two omissions: or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application and any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.

Once the judgment is satisfied, you should no longer be subject to the prospective application of the judgment and you are relieved from operation of the judgment. It can’t be enforced. The judgment cannot directly hurt you. The fact that it once existed and incidentally hurt your credit score is not the court’s problem and not what that statute is intended to remedy. The statute gives you a “second bite of the apple”, when there was a miscarriage of justice. And courts can be very liberal in exercising discretion to give you a second bite. But your case is done.

Where is the error or miscarriage in your scenario? Once judgment is entered, you don’t appeal or move to have it vacated, you pay it. You implicitly affirm that the court was right in entering judgment. It’s logically inconsistent to satisfy a judgment and then to seek to have it vacated.

My guess is that the court neither grants nor denies. It tells you that it no longer has jurisdiction and dismisses. Keep us informed. If I'm wrong, you're going to followed by a lot of people, because that statutory language is very common, and a large number of folks who have paid judgments will be eager to erase the black marks on their CRs.


Junior Member
Chien - Thank you very much for your detailed response!!!

I agree with your reasoning and especially with your concluding remark.

You are correct that this statutory language is very common. The MA rule is very close to the corresponding US Rule. The latter is followed by many other states' rules.

I did not find anything clarifying in the annotated RCP. However, below is an excerpt from a recent Kansas bankruptcy case (Shawn S. JACOBS):

"Cases that interpret the “satisfied, released or discharged” language are few and far between. One treatise suggests that “[a] motion for relief from a judgment under this provision of Rule 60( b)( 5) is a fairly straightforward proposition.”FN10 Another treatise states that “[t]he first of the grounds set out in Rule 60( b)( 5), that the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, has been relied on very rarely.”FN11 Most of the cases where relief was granted based on satisfaction of the judgment involved monetary judgments or conditional injunctions.FN12 This makes sense since it is usually fairly easy to discern whether payment or a certain condition has been met. "

What I do not understand is this: The conditions listed in part (5) of the rule are separated by “OR” statements. Notwithstanding the fact that statutes should be read holistically, does not the use of “OR” mean that ANY one of the conditions separated by the “OR”s is sufficient to enable the Court to vacate? In other words,

- “judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged”
- “prior judgement … has been reversed…:
- “it is no longer equitable …”

are all distinct conditions upon which the judgment may be vacated.

I agree with your comments that the statute does in certain circumstance (e.g. error or some other inequity) give one “a second bite at the apple”. Do you read that that is the sole purpose of the rule? If the judgment were vacated as satisfied, would not the parties still be precluded by the principles of Res Judicata from litigating the same issues?

I guess all my rambling reduces to the following question:

Question: Why does the rule include language for vacating a judgment based on the fact that it has been satisfied? In what circumstance would that portion of the rule apply?

Again, thank you very much for your help!


Junior Member
Civil Rule 60 (massachusetts)

How do I find a template of sorts to file a motion to vacate an order to repossess my motorcycle? Rule 60(b) (5) as the debt has been satisfied. I told the lawyer at the hearing and the judge that the payment was tendered before the hearing. The lawyer lied and said he know nothing of it. Long story short, my credit report shows that it had been a charge off as a bad debt in May and now (coincidently the same day as the hearing) it shows a zero balance "paid as agreed". What or how should I proceed before they come to my door? Thanks

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