Appellate Insights

Mar 15, 2019 Alana H. Rotter
The Times They Are A Changin’

Trial courts have a jurisdictional deadline for granting motions for a new trial, judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or to vacate the judgment.  Courts cannot grant relief after that deadline, so everyone involved must know when it is.  The deadline recently changed:

  • The trial court’s power to grant a new trial, or to vacate or set aside the judgment, expires 75 days after the earlier of (a) the clerk mailing notice of entry of judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5, or (b) a party serving written notice of entry of judgment on the moving party.  Absent notice of entry, the deadline is 75 days after the filing of the first notice of intention to move for a new trial or to set aside the judgment.  The old rule was 60 days.
  • The trial court’s power to grant judgment notwithstanding the verdict expires on “the last date upon which it has the power to rule on a motion for a new trial.”
  • If the 75th day falls on a weekend, the deadline is the next court day.
  • If the court does not rule before its deadline, the motion is automatically denied by operation of law.

►  The practical message:  Make it easy for the court to know its deadline for granting your post-judgment motion:  Specify the deadline on your motion’s caption page, and in the motion itself.