Garamendi v. Henin

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-19-2012
  • Case #: 10-57000, 10-57009
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judges Pregerson and Berzon
  • Full Text Opinion

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 60(a) allows a court to clarify and explain a judgment consistent with the intent of the original judgment, even if there is no ambiguity. A party waives his arguments as to setoff, release, and the nature and amount of his liability if he fails to challenge the original default judgments.

Jean-Francois Henin, an officer of a French corporation that bought assets from an insolvent California insurance company, misrepresented certain key facts, rendering the purchase illegal under California law. Sierra National Insurance Holdings, Inc., tried to enforce two default judgments against Henin in France, but a French court refused. Sierra returned to the district court for it to correct the judgments to add an explanation sufficient to permit enforcement in France. Henin appealed the district court’s correction of its judgments under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 60(a). Because Sierra’s relevant complaints are virtually identical to those of Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, the district court consolidated the two cases. The Ninth Circuit notes that, if necessary for enforcement, Rule 60(a) allows a court to clarify and explain a judgment consistent with the intent of the original judgment, even if there is no ambiguity. After reviewing the record, the Court determined the district court’s clarifications did not deviate from the intent of its original judgments, so it acted within its Rule 60(a) authority. The operative, substantive terms of were identical to the original judgments. In addition, the corrected judgments included only facts and evidence that was before the district court at the time of the original judgments. In addition, the Court found that Henin waived his arguments as to setoff, release, and the nature and amount of his liability because he failed to challenge the original default judgments. AFFIRMED.

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