Anderson v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER For the reasons explained within, Twin City's motion for conditional intervention is GRANTED. This conditional intervention does not include the right to participate in motions for summary judgment or trial on the merits. Signed by Judge William M Acker, Jr on 12/15/15. (SAC )
2015 Dec-15 PM 03:59
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
WILLIAM DEAN ANDERSON,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On November 19, 2015, Twin City Fire Insurance Company (“Twin
subrogation interest as the worker’s compensation insurance carrier
for the employer of plaintiff William Dean Anderson. (Doc. 26). On
November 20, 2015, defendant United States of America filed its
opposition to the motion. (Doc. 27).
The court entered an order
allowing plaintiff to respond to the motion by December 4, 2015.
Plaintiff having not filed any response, the motion is
now under submission.
For the reasons given below, the motion will be granted.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 a party may move to
intervene “[o]n timely motion.” Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 24(a)-(b).
“‘Timeliness’ is not precisely measurable, and courts should view
it flexibly toward both the courts and the litigants in the
interests of justice . . . [specifically] considering . . . (1) the
reasonably should have known of its interest in the case before
moving to intervene; (2) the extent of prejudice to the existing
parties as a result of the proposed intervenor's failure to move
for intervention as soon as it knew or reasonably should have known
of its interest; (3) the extent of prejudice to the proposed
intervenor if its motion is denied; and (4) the existence of
determination that its motion was timely.” Brown ex rel. O'Neil v.
Bush, 194 F. App'x 879, 882 (11th Cir. 2006) (citing Chiles v.
Thornburgh, 865 F.2d 1197, 1213 (11th Cir. 1989)).
While Twin City did not file its motion until after the
November 6, 2015 close of discovery (Doc. 19; Doc. 26) and more
than a year after the suit was filed (Doc. 1), such timing is not
unreasonable given that it seeks to intervene for the limited
purpose of protecting its subrogation interest. See Southern v.
Plumb Tools, A Div. of O'Ames Corp., 696 F.2d 1321, 1322-3 (11th
intervention on timeliness and jurisdictional grounds, it fails to
demonstrate any basis for prejudice to the parties. (Doc. 27). The
fact that plaintiff does not object to the intervention is an
Being filed before entry of judgment or any
distribution, granting the motion to intervene will not prejudice
any party nor interfere with the orderly processes of the court,
whereas “denial of the motion to intervene will harm [movant] by
frustrating its efforts to satisfy its subrogation interest.”
McDonald v. E. J. Lavino Co., 430 F.2d 1065, 1074 (5th Cir. 1970);
see Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981) (en
Finally, the United States fails to show any unusual
circumstances militating against a determination that the motion is
timely. See Id. at 1072 (finding a motion to intervene made a few
hours after the entry of judgment to be timely and recognizing “the
special nature of a motion to intervene for the limited purpose of
protecting [a] subrogation interest”).
Therefore, in light of all
of these factors Twin City’s motion is timely.
Under Rule 24(a), a party is entitled to intervene as of right
where it either:
(1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal
statute; or (2) claims an interest relating to the property or
transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so
situated that disposing of the action may as a practical
matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its
interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that
Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 24(a)(1)-(2).
A party may seek permissive
intervention where it either:
(A) is given a conditional right to intervene by a federal
statute; or (B) has a claim or defense that shares with the
main action a common question of law or fact.
Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 24(b)(1)(A)-(B).
A court has jurisdiction to
support intervention under Rule 24(a) as a matter of right because
it is ancillary to the underlying dispute, however, permissive
intervention under Rule 24(b) requires an independent ground of
jurisdiction. Sweeney v. Athens Reg'l Med. Ctr., 917 F.2d 1560,
1565 (11th Cir. 1990); see Smith Petroleum Serv., Inc. v. Monsanto
Chem. Co., 420 F.2d 1103, 1113 (5th Cir. 1970) (“no independent
ground of jurisdiction need be shown to support intervention as a
matter of right”).
Twin City does not specify whether it seeks intervention as of
right under Rule 24(a) or permissive intervention under Rule
24(b).1 Instead, it simply says that its motion is for conditional
intervention limited to protecting its right of subrogation under
Alabama law. (Doc. 26).
Because there is no basis for permissive
intervention under Rule 24(b),2 this court will evaluate Twin
City’s motion under Rule 24(a).
Twin City’s subrogation interest
sufficiently relates to the subject of the underlying action, and
Twin City states its conditional intervention is “pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(2)(B).” (Doc. 26 at 1).
Rule 26 contains no such subsection and deals with general
provisions governing discovery, not intervention.
Twin City fails to state an independent jurisdictional
basis for permissive intervention pursuant to Rule 24(b). Twin
City does not present a federal question but rather its
subrogation interest arises under Alabama law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Additionally, Twin City fails to support diversity jurisdiction
given that the amount in controversy is $10,583.43 and the
citizenship of Twin City is not stated on the face of the
complaint. (Doc. 26 at 1, 3). 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Furthermore,
supplemental jurisdiction is unavailable for intervention where
“exercising supplemental jurisdiction over such claims would be
inconsistent with the jurisdictional requirement of section
1332.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(b).
disposing of this action may impair or impede Twin City’s
ability to protect said interest. See Campbell v. Kovalev, 2013 WL
3833066, at *1-2 (N.D. Ala. July 23, 2013) (“Alabama Code, §
workers' compensation benefits paid to an employee . . . [and]
courts have found that the creation of a subrogation lien is a
sufficient interest to satisfy the first requirement of Rule
Further, no party currently in this suit adequately
represents the interests of Twin City.
Therefore, this court will
allow Twin City to intervene as of right under Rule 24(a). See
cognizable as intervention of right under Rule 24(a) where a movant
sought to protect its subrogation interest as a compensation
carrier under a Mississippi statute).
Therefore, for the reasons explained above, Twin City’s motion
intervention does not include the right to participate in motions
for summary judgment or trial on the merits
DONE this 15th day of December, 2015.
WILLIAM M. ACKER, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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