Green v. Roberts et al
ORDER granting 21 Motion to Intervene - the intervenors are NLT 8/12/11, to file their Complaint in Intervention in substantially the same form appended to their Motion as an exhibit. Signed by Chief Judge William H. Steele on 8/4/2011. Copies to parties. (mpp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JOEL W. GREEN,
CLYDE M. ROBERTS, III, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION 10-0481-WS-M
This matter comes before the Court on the Motion to Intervene (doc. 21) filed by North
Florida Shipyard, Inc. (“North Florida”) and American Longshore Mutual Association, Ltd.
(“ALMA”).1 No party has objected to this Motion within the time prescribed by the Order (doc.
37) entered on July 20, 2011; moreover, the Motion confirms that plaintiff has expressly
consented to intervention by North Florida and ALMA.
Plaintiff, Joel W. Green, brought this action against defendants, Clyde M. Roberts III and
Independent Marine Consultants, Inc., alleging that Roberts negligently caused flammable and
explosive gases to accumulate on a vessel whose repairs he was supervising. The Complaint
further alleges that Green, who was working as a welder on the vessel, sustained injuries in the
ensuing explosion, and that Roberts’ negligence proximately caused both the explosion and
Green’s injuries. This action was stayed for more than seven months effective December 6,
2010, because of the pendency before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals of related
proceedings, the outcome of which could potentially moot Green’s claims. As explained in the
Order (doc. 37) entered on July 20, 2011, those related proceedings have now concluded in a
manner that does not obviate or negate Green’s claims against Roberts and Independent Marine.
The Memorandum accompanying the Motion to Intervene characterizes it as an
“Ex parte Motion to Intervene.” (See doc. 21-1, at 1.) This description is incorrect. The Motion
to Intervene was not filed on an ex parte basis and, in any event, movants have identified no
reason why it should have been.
Accordingly, the July 20 Order lifted the stay and restored this case to the undersigned’s active
Now that this litigation is has been reactivated, the Court turns to the Motion to Intervene
filed by North Florida and ALMA in January 2011, shortly after the inception of the stay. In that
Motion, the putative intervenors allege that, at the time of Green’s injuries, ALMA provided
compensation coverage for North Florida, which was Green’s employer, and that they have paid
compensation and medical benefits to and on behalf of Green pursuant to the Longshore and
Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 901 et seq. North Florida and ALMA seek to
intervene in this action to assert lien rights under 33 U.S.C. § 933 and to recover compensation
benefits and other expenses paid on this loss.
Although North Florida and ALMA generally invoke Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure as the basis for their Motion, they do not offer any analysis or application of
Rule 24 principles to their circumstances. Nonetheless, under Rule 24(b), district courts have
discretion to grant permission to intervene “when [the] applicant's claim or defense and the main
action have a question of law or fact in common.” In re Bayshore Ford Trucks Sales, Inc., 471
F.3d 1233, 1246 (11th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted); see also Mt. Hawley Ins. Co. v. Sandy Lake
Properties, Inc., 425 F.3d 1308, 1312 (11th Cir. 2005) (“Permissive intervention under Fed. R.
Civ. Proc. 24(b) is appropriate where a party's claim or defense and the main action have a
question of law or fact in common and the intervention will not unduly prejudice or delay the
adjudication of the rights of the original parties.”). The two essential elements for permissive
intervention under Rule 24(b) are: “(1) the application to intervene was timely; and (2) the
intervenor’s claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common.”
Purcell v. BankAtlantic Financial Corp., 85 F.3d 1508, 1513 (11th Cir. 1996).
With respect to timeliness, the court file confirms that North Florida and ALMA filed
their Motion to Intervene just four months after this action commenced, prior to entry of a Rule
16(b) Scheduling Order and in advance of any discovery or substantial motion practice by the
existing parties. More importantly, there is no indication and no reason to believe that any other
party would be unfairly prejudiced if North Florida and ALMA were permitted to intervene at
this time. See generally Meek v. Metropolitan Dade County, Fla., 985 F.2d 1471, 1479 (11th Cir.
1993) (describing prejudice as “the essence of the timeliness inquiry” in the Rule 24(b) context).
As for the second prong of the Rule 24(b) inquiry, it cannot reasonably be disputed that the
proposed claims identified by North Florida and ALMA share common questions of law or fact
with those already joined in the main action. Simply put, if Green recovers from Roberts or
Independent Marine, then North Florida and ALMA seek to recover some or all of those funds to
make them whole for compensation benefits and other expenses they paid on Green’s behalf
after the accident. From the standpoint of efficiency and common sense, joining North Florida
and ALMA’s proposed claims to Green’s claims against Roberts and Independent Marine is
In sum, North Florida and ALMA’s Motion to Intervene is well-taken under the
permissive intervention principles of Rule 24(b), inasmuch as their proposed claims and the main
action have a question of law or fact in common and the intervention will not unduly prejudice or
delay the adjudication of the rights of the original parties. This is particularly true, given Green’s
acquiescence to the intervention and defendants’ non-objection to same. Accordingly, the
Motion to Intervene is granted. Pursuant to Section II.A.6. of this District Court’s
Administrative Procedure for Filing, Signing and Verifying Documents by Electronic Means, the
intervenors are ordered, on or before August 12, 2011, to file their Complaint in Intervention in
substantially the same form appended to their Motion as an exhibit.
DONE and ORDERED this 4th day of August, 2011.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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