San Juan Capistrano, CA asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Legal Malpractice for California

Q: If Judgment was entered and you file a Renewed Motion to Vacate, do you also have to file a Motion to Set Aside Judgment

In a Legal Malpractice case that went to Arbitration and then had the Award Confirmed in the trial courts, if you are then able to file a Renewal Motion on Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award for fraud, is it also necessary to file any other type of motion to set aside the Order already in place?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Legal Malpractice Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, if a judgment has already been entered based on an arbitration award, then in addition to filing a renewed motion to vacate the arbitration award, you would also need to file a motion to set aside the judgment that was entered.

The reasoning is that even if you are successful in getting the arbitration award vacated for fraud or other grounds, the judgment that was entered based on that award still exists separately. So you need to both:

1) Vacate the arbitration award by showing it was obtained by fraud or that there are sufficient legal grounds to overturn the arbitrators' decision. This is done through the renewed motion to vacate.

2) Set aside the court judgment that confirmed the arbitration award. This needs a separate motion asking the court to overturn its own prior order entering judgment. Setting out the same grounds that the arbitration award itself was fraudulent or should be vacated.

So in most cases where a judgment has already been entered, you need two motions - one aimed at the arbitration award and one aimed at the court judgment confirming it. Getting the arbitration award vacated alone doesn't automatically undo the judgment, you need specific court action for that as well through the motion to set aside judgment.

The court may consider both motions together, but it's important to file both a renewed motion to vacate arbitration award and separate motion to set aside judgment entered on that award.

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