In a motion to vacate a judgment, the court is asked to withdraw its previous judgment in a lawsuit. A motion to vacate is not an appeal, because it stays in the same court that makes the judgment, whereas the appeal goes to a higher court. Although it is rarely granted, there are several reasons a motion to vacate is granted, including issues with notice, jurisdiction and legal or regulatory issues.
If you did not receive notice of the lawsuit or of a hearing that is a part of a lawsuit, you have a valid reason to file a motion to vacate a judgment. To prove a lack of notice, you must go through the court records and search for an affidavit of service that you were served the paperwork. File your notice with any reason you wouldn’t have lost the lawsuit if you had been given proper notice, including a lack of proof.
Courts and lawyers have specific jurisdiction restrictions. Jurisdiction is the authority given to legal bodies, including lawyers, courts and political leaders. This authority is used to implicate or administer justice in a specific area of the law or physical area, i.e. state or county. If the law firm is not legally allowed to practice law in the specific physical location or area of law, you have a valid motion to vacate.
Legal and Regulatory
If any part of the lawsuit does not meet current laws and statutes about the court process, a motion to vacate can be submitted. Courts cannot violate any local or special court rules and the judge is not allowed to have partiality. No state public policy laws can be violated. The judge cannot be involved in any bribery. No party or part of the lawsuit, including lawyers, judges or the court itself, can be involved in fraud. Any violation of due process can be subject to a motion to vacate.
If the petition is defective or there is no petition filed, this is a valid reason for a void judgment. If the complaint does not outline the action against the party submitting the complaint, the judgment can be turned over. If the statute applied to the judgment is vague, the judgment can be void through a motion to vacate.
Rebekah Smith is a writer and editor from Montana and the owner of several businesses. Smith has consulted and worked with businesses in the fields of commercial greenhouses, ecommerce, technology and home improvement. She holds a Master of Business Administration and is working on a Ph.D. in business.