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Case Commentary: Saada v. Golan, 833 Fed. App'x 829 (2d Cir. 2021)

James D. Garbolino
November 17, 2022

Motion to Set Aside

In this case, a motion to set aside judgment under Rule 60(b) was denied for failure to raise material disputed fact. The party must show evidence of a disputed material to support a motion to set aside a judgment based on newly discovered evidence.


The appellate court affirmed district court’s denial of motion to set aside judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) without holding evidentiary hearing.


In Saada I,[1] the district court found that the mother removed the parties’ child from the child’s habitual residence in Italy. That decision was affirmed in part and vacated in part by the Second Circuit in Saada II.[2] The Second Circuit found that the performance of the undertakings by the father could not be guaranteed. The case was remanded for the district court to conduct further proceedings and determine whether alternative ameliorative measures could be adopted to ensure the child’s safety upon return to Italy. On remand in Saada III[3] the district court again ordered the child returned to Italy, based upon rulings by an Italian court including a stay-away order, mandatory psychological evaluations, and providing the mother compensation for expenses incurred because of the need to relocate to Italy. The Second Circuit affirmed (Saada IV).[4] Shortly thereafter the mother filed a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) to set aside the judgment based upon evidence that the father did not intend to comply with the Italian court’s orders—the basis for the district court’s ameliorative measures for the child’s return. The district court denied the mother’s motion without granting her request for an evidentiary hearing.


The Second Circuit held that a party is not automatically entitled to an evidentiary hearing on a motion to set aside a judgment. The district court was well within its discretion to deny the motion because there was insufficient evidence raising a dispute concerning a material fact. In addition, the district court noted that even if the grounds for the motion were known at the time of trial, these facts would not have changed the court’s judgment. The Second Circuit stayed the judgment denying the Rule 60(b) motion pending a decision on the mother’s petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.[5]

[1]. Saada v. Golan, No. 18-CV-5292(AMD)(LB), 2019 WL 1317868 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2019).
[2]. Saada v. Golan, 930 F.3d 533 (2d Cir. 2019).
[3]. Saada v. Golan, No. 1:18-CV-5292 (AMD) (SMG), 2020 WL 2128867 (E.D.N.Y. May 5, 2020).
[4]. Saada v. Golan, 833 F. App’x 829 (2d Cir. 2020).
[5]. Certiorari is sought on the question whether a court finding a grave risk must consider ameliorative measures that would facilitate the return of the child even though a grave risk finding has been made.  On April 5, 2021, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States. Docket No. 20-1034.