United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
L. CHRISTENSEN, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the State of Idaho's Motion to Intervene.
(Doc. 16.) Idaho seeks to Intervene in this matter "as
of right" pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
24(a) or "permissively" pursuant to Rule 24(b).
(Doc. 17 at 2.) Federal Defendants take no position on this
Motion. (Doc. 21 at 2.) Plaintiffs do not oppose Idaho's
permissive intervention under Rule 24(b), though ask the
Court to limit Idaho's participation in the same way the
Court limited Wyoming's, namely, to require Idaho be
bound by the same deadlines in the Court's forthcoming
scheduling order and to work with Wyoming and Federal
Defendant's in order to avoid duplicative briefing. For
the following reasons, Idaho's Motion will be granted.
24(b)(1)(B) provides that "[o]n timely motion, the court
may permit anyone to intervene who ... has a claim or defense
that shares with the main action a common question of law or
fact." "The decision to grant or deny this type of
intervention is discretionary, subject to considerations of
equity and judicial economy." Garza v. County of Los
Angeles, 918 F.2d 763, 777 (9th Cir. 1990). When
exercising this discretion, the court must "consider
whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the
adjudication of the original parties' rights."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b)(3). "Permissive intervention to
litigate a claim on the merits under Rule 24(b) requires (1)
an independent ground for jurisdiction; (2) a timely motion;
and (3) a common question of law and fact between the
movant's claim or defense and the main action."
Beckman Industries, Inc. v. International Insurance
Co., 966 F.2d 470, 473 (9th Cir. 1992). However, when
the court has federal-question jurisdiction and the proposed
intervenor does not seek to bring new state-law claims, an
independent ground for jurisdiction is unnecessary.
Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Geithner,
644 F.3d 836, 843-44 (9th Cir. 2011). Here, this Court has
federal-question jurisdiction and Idaho is not advancing any
individual claims. (See Doc. 17 at 13.)
Consequently, the Court turns to the remaining two
Idaho's motion is timely. The timeliness of a motion to
intervene depends on three criteria: "(1) the stage of
the proceeding at which an applicant seeks to intervene; (2)
the prejudice to other parties; and (3) the reason for the
length of delay." United States v. Carpenter,
298 F.3d 1122, 1125 (9th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). This litigation is in a preliminary
stage and the Court has not yet issued a scheduling order. In
light of the early stage of these proceedings, the Court does
not find that there will be prejudice to other parties or
that there is any delay in the filing of Idaho's motion.
the Court considers whether there are common questions of law
and fact between Idaho's defense and the main action.
Here, Idaho does not appear to be raising any specific
defense but intends to defend that the Service maintains
discretion as to whether to amend or modify the Grizzly Bear
Recovery Plan under the Endangered Species Act
("ESA"). As such, Idaho's defenses are directly
responsive to the Center's claims that the Service
maintained a nondiscretionary duty to evaluate and
incorporate new grizzly habitats under the ESA.
granting the motion for permissive intervention, the Court
advises Idaho that, while it may participate in settlement
negotiations with the parties should such negotiations take
place, its status as Defendant-Intervenor does not carry with
it the right to prevent any settlement of plaintiffs'
claims from occurring. See United States v.
Carpenter, 526 F.3d 1237, 1240-1241 (9th Cir. 2008)
(recognizing "that intervenors' consent is not
required for approval of [a] settlement between the
parties"); Local Number 93, Int'l Ass'n of
Firefighters, AFL-CIO CL. C v. City of
Cleveland, 478 U.S. 501, 528-529 (1986) ("It
has never been supposed that... an intervenor ... could
preclude other parties from settling their own disputes and
thereby withdrawing from litigation. Thus, while an
intervenor is entitled to present evidence and have its
objections heard at the hearings on whether to approve a
consent decree, it does not have power to block the decree
merely by withholding its consent.") (citations
the Court urges Idaho to focus its briefing on its unique
interests in this case. It is not helpful when intervenors or
amici brief the same issues and make the same arguments
advanced by other defendants.
the conditions that Plaintiffs request, the Court will
require of Idaho the same conditions that it placed upon
Wyoming. All defendants will be bound by the same filing
deadlines. All defendants are expected to work together to
avoid duplicative briefing.
IT IS ORDERED that Idaho's Motion to Intervene (Doc. 16)
is GRANTED as follows:
Defendant-Intervenor are hereby granted leave to intervene as
a defendant in this matter pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Defendant-Intervenor shall file its answer on or before
October 21, 2019; and
Defendant-Intervenor shall confer with counsel for the
federal defendants on all motions and briefs to avoid
repetitious arguments to the extent ...