Summary: CAFC finds mediator breached duty to disclose, but denies relief from judgment under Rule 60(b) because of lack of “extraordinary circumstances.”

Case: Ceats, Inc. v. Cont’l Airlines, Inc., No. 2013-1529 (Fed. Cir. June 24, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from the E.D. Tex. Before Prost, Rader, and O’Malley.

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff CEATS appealed the district court’s denial of FRCP Rule 60(b) motion. CAFC affirmed.

  • FRCP Rule 60(b): CAFC affirmed the district court’s denial of relief from judgment under Rule 60(b). Rule 60(b)(6) gives federal courts authority to relieve a party from final judgment if “such action is appropriate to accomplish justice” and only in “extraordinary circumstances.” CAFC found that, by failing to disclose his dealings with one of the firms involved in the litigation, the mediator breached his duty to disclose “all actual and potential conflicts of interest that are reasonably known to the mediator and could reasonably be seen as raising a question about the mediator’s impartiality.” Nevertheless, relief from judgment was not warranted, as CEATS had an opportunity to present its case to a neutral judge and jury, and did not establish the presence of “extraordinary circumstances” under Liljeberg factors.

Olena Ierega